Buller District Council

Karamea Highway will gradually reopen as of next week

20th February, 2022

Buller District Council will open the Karamea Highway “Bluffs Road” from tomorrow (Monday 21 February 2022) to allow traffic to access and leave Karamea throughout the day.

Manager infrastructure delivery Eric de Boer says: “During the last week all traffic over the Karamea Bluff was under a strict access control plan, with three escorted trips through per day.  This allowed our contractor to make good progress on road stabilization”.   “We are now at a stage where the road can be reopened from next week, but there will still be sections of road that are under active traffic control and users may experience some delays while contractors’ heavy machinery is working in those locations”.

While the road will be open to traffic; road users are still required to follow all temporary traffic management and directions of staff onsite.

All efforts will be made by staff onsite to minimize any disruption to journey time over the Karamea Bluffs; however, users will still need to be prepared to wait at certain work sites.

The main site that may experience delays is the ‘Seven Sisters’ site on the Karamea side of the Bluffs.  This site will have large ground stabilization equipment working in the center of the road; meaning the road may be closed for up to an hour at a time.

To inform of any significant delays at the ‘Seven Sisters’ site the public variable message sign boards that are located along State Highway 67 near the Pines Tavern, at the Mokihinui Lewis Street corner and at the Little Wanganui bridge will provide advance warning to motorists.

WestReef staff and their contractors have been hard at work removing 30 large slips and widened critical areas to allow vehicles to safely pass through the most severely affected sections of the highway.

“I am incredibly proud of the work our contractors have done on stabilizing the areas of concern along the Karamea Highway.  There is however more work to do to ensure full restoration and to re-establish service levels along this critical roading lifeline that leads into the Karamea Basin.”

“We thank all the road users for their patience and support while we continue this work for the foreseeable future.”

Buller District Council understands the importance of the highway to the Karamea community and are working with Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency to ensure all repairs will be designed and built with safety and resilience as a priority.

In an emergency situation road users can liaise with onsite staff on temporary traffic management stops or call 111.

 

In short:

  • The section of the Karamea highway over the Karamea Bluff was severely damaged by slips triggered by heavy rain during the February 2022 weather events, which struck the Buller District.
  • Road access to and from Karamea had been cut off since Wednesday 9 February 2022 and on Monday 14 February it was moved onto an Access Control Regime which allowed 3 x trips through per day.
  • The road over the Karamea Bluff will now be open to general traffic from 9AM tomorrow (Monday 21 February)
  • While the road will be open; users can still except some temporary delays at key work sites
  • Contractor site personnel will endeavor to keep these journey delays to a minimum
  • Long-term repair plans are extensive and will take some considerable time

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ENDS

Media contacts

EOC Public Information Management Officer

027 246 2588

bdc.pim@bdc.govt.nz

 

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