South Hokianga road reopens earlier than expected

Published on 28 July 2022

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Widening a section of road undermined by recent slip damage has meant the Waiotemarama Gorge Road in the South Hokianga can reopen earlier than the forecast date of 1 August. A major slip closed the road to all traffic on 12 July 2022 when heavy rain undermined the road between Kelly Road near Pākanae and Smoothy Road.

The temporary fix by council contractors included the removal of trees at the top of an embankment next to the road, widening the road with the installation of subsoil pipes, installing a new cross road culvert to cut off water ahead of the slip, and clearing upstream water tables and slip material. This work was completed while roading teams were also responding to a severe weather event this week. 

Some minor work is continuing, with the road expected to be officially reopened and the detour removed by 5pm this Friday (29 July). Until then the detour will remain on State Highway 12 - from the intersection of Kelly Road and Waiotemarama Gorge Road in the north and from Smoothy Road in the south.

Further deterioration of the slip area is still possible, so monitoring will continue while long term solutions are investigated by the Northland Transportation Alliance with Waka Kotahi.

Waiotemarama Gorge Road cuts inland through Waimā Forest from Pākanae on the Twin Coast Discovery Highway (State Highway 12) just before Ōpononi. It re-joins the highway just west of Waimamaku.

Photos – a temporary retreat away from a slip site has allowed the Waiotemarama Gorge to reopen ahead of schedule.

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