Six month cliff strengthening could slow road users


219 rock anchors, 1,660m2 of ‘shotcrete’and nearly 1,400m2 of mesh will be used as part of strengthening work on the Rocks Road cliff face over the next six months.

Regional Performance Manager, Central for the NZ Transport Agency, Mark Owen, says the cliff face above Rocks Road is subject to ongoing weathering from storms and other weather events, which result in rocks falling on the road from time to time.
“Rocks Road has historically needed regular maintenance work, both to the cliff face and the seawall on the other side of the road.  Following the storm in December 2011, some areas of the cliff face above State Highway 6 were destabilised.”
He says areas of highest risk will be addressed first with a focus on stabilising the rock face. A secondary phase will aim at reducing the amount of material that falls onto the road and reduce the risk of rock slides from bad weather conditions.
“Essentially, we’ll be  stabilising  a number of sections of the cliff face by drilling anchors into the rock face, installing drainage pipes for groundwater and then applying a layer of steel mesh and either sprayed concrete or a special surfacing to the cliff face.”
Mark says due to the amount of work required the strengthening period will continue over the winter months and he wants road users to be aware of what is happening to allow for extra time and care on their journey.
“We’ll do our best to minimise any disruption, but at the end of the day, delays are a small price to pay for a safer and more secure road. Our number one priority is to provide a safe passage for all road users, including cyclists, and ensure a resilient route for years to come.”
Work will be carried out seven days a week where necessary. Both lanes will remain open for most of the time but their width will be reduced. The NZTA is urging motorists to keep an eye out for cyclists and watch their speed. Cyclists will need to merge with traffic or walk their bike along the footpath.
During the night the speed may be reduced to 30km/h when necessary.
“It’s also vital that motorists observe the 30km/h speed limit – it’s not a rough guide, it’s the maximum speed you are allowed to travel through the site.”
Minor repair work is also proceeding on the Rocks Road seawall as part of routine maintenance.