A section of road damaged near Waimana, in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, just on two years ago in the April 2017 flood event should be open by May after extensive work to repair it.
As part of a joint Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Whakatane District Council project to provide safer road access for local residents, the section of Lowe Road has received six weeks of repairs work.
BOPRC flood recovery project manager Paula Chapman say the section was badly eroded in the April 2017 flood event and scoured away to such an extent that the road surface itself was impacted.
“The Tauranga River runs alongside Lowe Rd in several places and during the April 2017 flood event, it eroded the banks, putting the road at risk in several places. This was one of our high priority repair sites and part of the $11.47m budget we have set aside for the 2018/2019 year,” says Paula.
WDC transportation manager Martin Taylor says the rural road was an important link between Waimana and communities up the Matahi Valley and was used daily by the school bus and local traffic.
“Since the April 2017 flood, sections of the road have had to be narrowed with cones and orange mesh fences where the road shoulder has been completely eroded away.
“The next flood could easily be the one that then takes the road itself away. To ensure that doesn’t happen we’re working together with the regional council to reinstate the road shoulder and strengthen the river bank.
Work has involved realigning the river channel to provide a working area for repairs, then significant work to bench the river bank up to road level, before repairing and resealing the road.
Paula says benching and stabilising the riverbank back up to road level would have required a lot of rock material.
“We’ve been stockpiling that on-site for some weeks now, so our thanks go to local users who were being inconvenienced by additional truck movements.”
Martin says they hoped to have the road fully reopened the road by the end of April.