Three Options Identified for Restoration of SH25A
Written by John Grant on February 24, 2023
NZTA say that while a solution is still being worked on, the final resolution is around nine to 12 months away before State Highway 25A is fully re-opened in the Coromandel. During this time people will still be able to enjoy their favourite holiday destination by taking alternative routes and enjoy the scenery on offer. For the reinstatement of SH25A the options have been narrowed.
“There are three main options for reinstating this highway. One – we build a bridge replacing the lost section of road; two – we build a deviation which bypasses the slip site; three – we build a retaining wall and effectively rebuild the road from the ground up,” says Regional Manager of Infrastructure Delivery, Jo Wilton.
“We don’t know which option is most feasible yet. The right solution cannot be established until the geotech work is complete. We know the rebuild must be resilient and as timely as possible. We understand how critical this highway is for Coromandel residents, businesses, and visitors,” Ms Wilton says.
Geotechnical engineers are continuing their critical assessments. There has been some further deterioration of the slip site following Cyclone Gabrielle. Some cracks across the road near each edge of the slip have widened, but there has been no further movement at this stage.
“The Hikuai side of the slip is high and possibly unstable. Assessment of the stability of this slope is underway.
“The next step is to construct a temporary track, to allow access for a geotech drilling rig up to the site of a potential deviation above the slip area. We also need to form another access track to the base of the slip where a retaining wall could be founded, but the ground is too wet to do this yet. Until we can get a rig in – we can’t get significant testing done.
“Our current focus is to build the tracks so the geotechnical assessments can be completed. It is anticipated these tracks will be in place in approximately two weeks – subject to the weather,” Ms Wilton says.
SH25A was closed on Friday 27 January to ensure the safety of road users, following the formation of deep cracks in the road after Ex-Cyclone Hale. The cracked section of the road at the summit slipped away during the Auckland Anniversary storm event.
It was the preferred route across from the Kopu side and its unavailability has added time and impacted businesses on both sides. Thames businesses say they are missing the businesses from those residents on the eastern side of the Peninsula who would frequently come to Thames for hospital visit and shopping. Businesses in the eastern seaboard towns are also missing visitors who have been reluctant to make the trip due to the additional travel time.
Campaigns on both sides of the Coromandel are underway and with coming attractions like Beach hop, A Taste of Matarangi, Kubota Billfish Competition, Whitianga Run Fest, Pauanui Half Marathon and Waka Ama the number of visitors will bring a late summer bump for local businesses.