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Karamea Highway closed next week due to road stabilisation works

13 Sep 2023

Buller District Council will close the Karamea Highway next week to carry out road stabilisation works. The construction site is located on the Karamea side of the bluff approximately 4km north of Corbyvale and 1km south of the Seven Sisters.

The repair works requires the highway to be closed from 7:30am Monday 18 September until 5pm Friday 22 September with traffic only able to pass through the work site during a 15-minute opening which is set for 9am, 11am, 1pm & 3pm daily.

The road will re-open each evening at 5pm through to 7:30am the next day. These road openings will be under traffic management control, for single lane traffic.

Outside of these times no traffic will be able to pass through due to construction machinery on the road.

The Karamea Highway suffered significant damage during the July 2021 and February 2022 weather events. In December 2022, council received $13.2M funding approval from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency for the repair of these storm damaged roads.

The repairs to be carried out next week, are part of this extensive externally funded and council managed programme.

Manager infrastructure delivery Eric de Boer says: “We are aware that this is a major inconvenience for the local community and regular users of the Karamea highway. However, it is necessary to enable our contractors to carry out the work and progress with the repair of the road, as a key lifeline link for the Karamea community.”

During the closure, contractors will drill into the bank below the road to install 6m long steel soil nails. These nails are used to anchor mesh which will stabilise the bank. The drill rig needs to be positioned on the road across both lanes to drill into the bank.

A Variable Messaging Sign (VMS) has been placed just north of the Mokihinui River bridge on Monday afternoon. On Thursday a static sign will be placed at the northern end of the highway as you approach the first hill out of Little Wanganui heading south.

Stakeholders were notified on Monday through an email, this includes accommodation providers, the Department of Conservation, local transport companies, emergency services, schools, and other impacted parties both locally and regionally.

Mr de Boer says: “We have been liaising with emergency services like St Johns and Fire Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) to ensure that essential services can drive through when needed outside of the scheduled times.”

The road closure is displayed on the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Journey Planner to give people a heads up in planning their travel and to indicate the impact on their journey time.

Mr de Boer says: “Once the works next week have been completed the road will open to one-lane traffic manged by traffic lights. Contractors will continue to carry out all remaining works at this site until mid-October. This is one of many projects as part of this large body of work that we are carrying out all along the Karamea Highway. We expect that the initial 10 projects on the Karamea Highway will be completed by the end of October

The remaining 12 projects on the highway resulting from the 2021 / 2022 weather events are to be released for tendering in early October, with works likely to take a further 6 months to complete”

“Once all sites are cleaned up it will allow people in Karamea to travel with ease and provide a more resilient link to the most northern part of our district. Reliable transport networks are key to our local economy and especially important to our rural community.”

You can find out more on Council’s website


For further information please contact:

Eric de Boer
Manager Infrastructure Delivery