Hope road opened by tonight

The Waitaki District Council hopes to have the blocked Livingstone-Duntroon road partially open by tonight.

The road was blocked earlier this week by rocks after a 30m-40m section of cliff fell on to the road between State Highway 83 and Settlement Rd.

After an assessment by a Geotech engineer earlier this week and a historical specialist on Wednesday the council is aiming to have the road open to single-lane traffic by this weekend.

This was anticipated to be a priority give-way single lane, to allow traffic to flow in both directions, the council said in a statement yesterday.

Ngāi Tahu, the owners of the site, and Tūhura Otago Museum have asked to be notified if any rock art or fossilised remains emerge during the clearance of the fall and for these to be protected as well as possible.

The potential archaeological significance of fossils within the limestone could delay reopening. However, it is likely a single lane will be open by this evening.

The Waitaki District Council and contractors have targeted the end of next week for the full reopening of the road.

The council said the nature of the rockfall required caution and care to ensure the road could be opened with any potential hazards removed or secured.

The large rocks would be professionally "shoved" off the ledge, using inflatable bladders, while the road remained closed to all traffic, it said.

Until the road reopens diversions remain in place. The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail is being rerouted along Earthquakes Rd to rejoin the trail beyond the rock-fall site. This is not a sealed road, so motor vehicle traffic is discouraged. Road traffic is encouraged to take the Georgetown-Ngapara road as a diversion to reach Elephant Rocks, Livingstone and other areas usually accessible by the Duntroon-Livingstone road.