Cleanup may take fortnight

22:40, Jun 15 2014

A slip in Port Underwood Rd near Whatamango Bay could take up to two weeks to clear, says Marlborough District Council assets and services manager Mark Wheeler.

The slip, which came down in heavy rain on Thursday, cuts off all residents beyond Whatamango Bay with their only exit through Rarangi, adding an extra 90 minutes' driving time.

A team of specialist geotechnical engineers arrived from Wellington on Friday to inspect the site and were concerned about the size of the slip.

"More than 10,000 cubic metres of hillside has slipped and it will be a huge cleanup project," Wheeler said.

"Diggers will be moved to the top of the slip to push the material down so it can be carted away safely. There's a lot to be moved and we can't say exactly how long it will take. The estimate is at least a week to perhaps two weeks," Wheeler said.

It was uncertain how much damage the slip had caused to the road seal, he said.


Hakahaka Bay resident George Yorke had been trying since Thursday to get to his wife in Koromiko where their paddocks had flooded.

"A huge tree across the road blocked my way on Thursday, and Friday the road was closed by the slip on the Whatamango hills. I was worried about my wife and sheep in Koromiko, but luckily they were all OK," he said.

He said he was not concerned about the longer drive to town after living at remote Hakahaka Bay for more than three decades. "Most of us living out here are pretty self-sufficient ... but am glad they are starting work on the road this week," Yorke said.

Marilyn Carter said there were only three permanent residents on the stretch of Port Underwood Rd she lived in, and they did not mind the extra drive. She said her pantry was well stocked.

"We live here to be rural and always have a long drive no matter where we want to go, now it's just a little longer," she said.

Another seven roads remained closed last night after heavy rains: Ward Beach Rd, Reserve Rd, Taylor Pass Rd at the fords, Hodder Ford in Awatere Valley Rd, Omaka Ford in Old Renwick Rd, Speeds Rd because of bridge damage, Foster St in Seddon.

The Marlborough Express