Otaki Gorge Rd reopens after stabilisation works completed video

ROSS GIBLIN\Dominion Post

Residents David and Kathleen Campbell will be able to drive home as Otaki Gorge Rd reopens after stabilisation works are completed.

The reopening of Otaki Gorge Rd after seven months is welcome news for trampers – and even better news for cut-off residents David and Kathleen Campbell.

The couple live about a kilometre past the slip at Blue Bluff that closed the road to Otaki Forks in December.

Before Friday's reopening, the Campbells have scaled a hill to gain access to Otaki Gorge Rd. They walked from their house to a four-wheel-drive track, where one of their cars was parked.

The massive slip at Blue Bluff on Otaki Gorge Rd has been fixed, allowing Kathleen and David Campbell to drive to their ...
ROSS GIBLIN/ FAIRFAX NZ

The massive slip at Blue Bluff on Otaki Gorge Rd has been fixed, allowing Kathleen and David Campbell to drive to their house, seen in the distance above the river.

At the end of the track they reached a friend's home, where they got changed and swapped cars. The journey took between an hour and 90 minutes each way.

READ MORE:
* Work to begin on Otaki Gorge Rd slip
* Walkers endanger themselves crossing slip at Blue Bluff, Otaki Gorge
* Half a million dollars to keep Kapiti road to forest open for a year
* Otaki Gorge Rd remains closed
* Popular Kapiti picnic spot closed for summer due to rock fall risk
* Slip forces closure of Otaki Gorge Road

During the works, a vehicle was hired to the family, then half the costs for a purchase were provided.

The Campbells have had to scale a hill for the past seven months to reach the road.
ROSS GIBLIN/ FAIRFAX NZ

The Campbells have had to scale a hill for the past seven months to reach the road.

Twice a helicopter dropped supplies for the couple and their animals.

David Campbell said Kapiti Coast District Council made the right decision to close the road, despite the inconvenience.

"It had been fall and scrape, fall and scrape, one day closed, three days closed. It was a disaster waiting to happen.

A barrier is lifted into place at Blue Bluff, as Otaki Gorge Rd is reopened.
ADAM POULOPOULOS/ FAIRFAX NZ

A barrier is lifted into place at Blue Bluff, as Otaki Gorge Rd is reopened.

"It was easy enough to walk across them [rocks], but council were super-cautious."

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He said that, after 16 years living there, they never thought of heading elsewhere.

"It was suggested, but it's home. We've got ducks, we've got hens, we've got two sheep we're looking after.

David and Kathleen Campbell with Kapiti Coast District Council roading network performance team leader Neil Williams.
ADAM POULOPOULOS/ FAIRFAX NZ

David and Kathleen Campbell with Kapiti Coast District Council roading network performance team leader Neil Williams.

"We didn't want the leave the place for a month, for someone to do mischief."

The pair run a prayer retreat, The Gate, from their home. With reduced access, visitor numbers fell, but Campbell said he expected them to rise again now.

GATEWAY TO THE TARARUAS

The top batter slope is 33 metres high, and laid back at a 45-degree angle.
ROSS GIBLIN/ FAIRFAX NZ

The top batter slope is 33 metres high, and laid back at a 45-degree angle.

Council roading network performance team leader Neil Williams said he was glad to finish the job.

"It's fantastic. This is the gateway to the Tararuas, and it's fantastic we can open that.

"We're pleased we can give the Campbells their access back."

A design incorporating four batter slopes and three benches, reducing the slope's angle, has been used for the site.

The top of the reinforced area is made of silty soil, while greywacke and seams of argilite form the bottom. Concrete barriers have also been placed on either side of the road.

The road was graded, the grass cut and drainage systems checked before reopening.

The area will be inspected by the council every three months, or after a major storm.

TIMELINE

* July-August 2015: A slip occurs at Blue Bluff after the June floods, and 5500 cubic metres of material is removed.
* September-December 2015: A further 2500 cum is removed from the site.
* December 2015: Major cracks are discovered. About 1000 cum is removed in further remedial work. The road is closed.
* February 2016: Another slip occurs after heavy rain, about 5000 cum is cleared. Geologists, surveys and consultant engineers join council in inspecting the site. Council issues a warning after half a dozen walkers crossed, or attempted to cross, the slip face. None were injured.
* April 2016: Major earthworks begin.
* July 2016: Road is reopened.

BY THE NUMBERS

* The road was closed for seven months.
* The work cost about $500,000 to undertake, with almost half coming form the NZ Transport Agency's emergency works fund.
* 55,000 cubic metres of material (solid measure) and 70,000 cum (loose measure) was removed from the site, weighing about 100,000 tonnes.
* This equates to 9300 truckloads in a 7.5cum truck, or enough material to fill the Coastlands Aquatic Centre 25m pool 47 times.
* The top batter slope is 33m high, and laid back at a 45deg angle. The three lower slopes are 25m and laid back at a 53-degree angle.
* The three benches, formed to catch debris should it fall, are all 7m wide.
* Nine pieces of equipment were used, including three 40-tonne dump trucks, two 20t excavators, a 15t excavator, a 36t excavator, a 21t super reach excavator and a 20t bulldozer.

 - Stuff

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