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Erosion Moves Will Secure Access Through Awakino Gorge

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Erosion Moves Will Secure Access Through Awakino Gorge

The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) is in the process of moving sand bars in the Awakino River away from State Highway 3 to help improve route security through the Awakino Gorge in the South Waikato.

The repositioning of the sand bars will steer the water flow of the Awakino River away from the river banks alongside the highway. This will help stabilise the river banks, protect them from erosion, and make the Awakino Gorge a lot less susceptible to slips and subsequent closures.

The sand bars being shifted are located 3.5km south of the Awakino Tunnel and opposite Awakau Road, where a large sand bar is currently forcing the River towards the highway.

The Awakino Gorge section of SH3, approximately 90km north of New Plymouth, is a strategic freight link between the Auckland, Waikato and Taranaki regions, and as an alternative route when winter weather affects SH1 and SH4.

NZTA State Highway Manager Kaye Clark says, "NZTA recognises that the reliability and performance of this section of SH3 has a direct impact on the economy of Taranaki region. This work is one of a number of initiatives we have carried out over the past few years to protect this important stretch of highway."

"The high rainfall and unstable geological conditions combined with the Awakino River's increasing proximity to the highway has made the Awakino Gorge section of SH3 particularly challenging to maintain. However, we have significantly improved the overall performance of this section of highway over the past few years through a series of planned incremental improvements."

In 2008 a major realignment of SH3 between the Awakino Junction Service Station and the Awakino Tavern successfully removed some of the slip risk by shifting part of the highway away from the river. However, this could not be done along the whole project length because of the narrowness of the gorge.

Mrs Clark says, "Improving route security through the Awakino Gorge is a top priority for us, and moving the river away from the highway will be a major step in achieving that. We have been working closely with Environment Waikato to get this positive result."

The work started on the 15th of March and is expected to be completed by mid April.

This work is weather dependant and may be delayed if the weather is wet.

ENDS For more information please contact: Julie Hannam Regional Communications Advisor T 64 07 958 7238 M 64 027 294 2649

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