A temporary diversion route through the Waioeka Gorge is due to open today allowing traffic to travel to Gisborne.
NZ Transport Agency is expected to make a decision on opening the single-lane temporary diversion route at around 10am.
Slip material on the road through the Waioeka Gorge.
Bay of Plenty state highway manager Brett Gliddon says the temporary route will ensure vehicles can travel safely through the gorge.
“We’re very conscious that people are eager to get through, and we’re on the verge of opening the temporary diversion, although this will depend on conditions being favourable and the hillside being assessed as safe and stable.
“We are itching to get the road open, but safety is our top concern.”
Brett says while opening the temporary diversion will be an encouraging milestone, motorists should still expect delays as the road will be a one lane operation with a 30km/h speed restriction.
Brett says the temporary diversion will operate from 8am to 5.30pm, with the possibility of it being open at night.
“Initially the road will be open during the hours of daylight only, as it is difficult to detect potential slips or rock falls at night.
“We’ll have spotters constantly monitoring the slip face, and once we are confident that it has stabilised sufficiently and there is no safety risk for vehicles travelling at night, the temporary road will be opened for all hours of use.”
For up to date information on the Waioeka Gorge closure visit www.nzta.govt.nz/waioeka-gorge.