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Access Through Kairakau Road a Top Priority in the Lead Up to Summer

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Central Hawke’s Bay District Council is making progress toward rebuilding a section of Kairakau Road, which has been closed at the 7.1km mark following a significant slip which took place Sunday 7th November.

At an Ordinary Meeting of Council held on Wednesday 17 November, Council agreed to execute a direct engagement procurement of Higgins Contracting Ltd to carry out the physical works to replace a non-usable section of Kairakau Road and approved access to emergency funds to carry out the works.

Specialist engineers and equipment is continuing to investigate the best possible solution for the safe reopening of the road, with survey work underway now to assist in the design of the new section of road.

“Although a solution is yet to be set in concrete, Council is working as a top priority to dissect the options for allowing short term through access to the road,” says Monique Davidson, Chief Executive of the Council.

“Council’s engineering teams and expert technical support have worked to determine with the best accuracy possible the state of the site as it stands.

“At this stage, the work completed by engineering teams has determined that a repair or rebuild of the failed section of road on the same site will not be a long term effective option due to the instability of the ground beneath the existing road.

“Instead, the preferred approach to reopening the road is to build a small road retreat, as part of our staged approach to reopening the road.

“Higgins have proven their ability to complete works of this nature and are a trusted partner of Council holding existing contracts for similar works.

“By directly engaging with Higgins, we are avoiding lengthy and costly procurement exercises which would push out the physical delivery of works.

“Absolutely every effort is being made to ensure traffic can pass through Kairakau Road before Christmas,” said Ms Davidson.

At the meeting, Council resolved to approve the use of the Adverse Events fund to provide Council’s share of the costs of replacing the non-usable section of the road, up to a value of $550,200 with agreements being worked through with funding partner Waka Kotahi for the remaining costs.
“As there is no allowance for funding for events of this size within the current approved Land Transport Budget, the most appropriate option is to fund the repairs from the Adverse Events fund, given the nature and significance of the slip that has caused the incident,” said Ms Davidson.

Kairakau Road has been affected by ongoing slow movement over a substantial period of time, with a known slump worsening in recent weeks.

Major repairs had been scheduled by Council to remedy the slump, which would have involved the excavation, restabilising and rebuilding of the site, however investigations indicate that the severity of the slip and required rebuild would likely have occurred even if the planned repair works had been already made.

“We understand the impact the closure of Kairakau Road is having on the Central Hawke’s Bay community, particularly the locals of Kairakau,” said Alex Walker, Mayor of Central Hawke’s Bay.

“Council is committed to moving as quickly as possible to provide a safe thoroughfare for road users.”

Signed detours are in place through Mangakuri Road, Clareinch Road, Pourerere Road and River Road however road users are advised to take extra caution, as this route is less frequently used.

Concrete blocks are in place at the access points of the slip following reports of cars failing to stop.

A webpage has been set up at which interested parties are encouraged to visit to be kept up to date with the project’s progress.

Local residents are invited to attend a public meeting with Council representatives next Wednesday (24th November 2021) at 6.30pm in the Kairakau Beach Campground Hall.

19 November 2021

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