Road reopens after slip

GERMARI HERSELMAN
Last updated 12:52 02/07/2014
Deisha Graham
STORM DAMAGE: A slip which blocked Port Underwood Rd near Whatamango Bay.

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Port Underwood Rd is expected to re-open later today after heavy rain caused a landslide nearly three weeks ago.

The road was expected to open next Monday (July 7), but roading staff cleared the slip quicker than expected.
The team then hoped to open the road yesterday , but decided to push more earth down last night that could have caused a safety hazard.

A geotechnical engineer from Wellington, who initially assessed the slip, returned today to inspect the completed work.

Marlborough Roads assets manager Steve Murrin said the engineer was impressed with the standard of work and felt it was safe to open the road.

It is expected to open at 5pm.

The first slip came down in heavy rain almost three weeks ago and cut off all residents beyond Whatamango Bay with their only exit through Rarangi, adding an extra 90 minutes' driving time.

Roading staff have cleared about 1000 cubic meters of slip material daily for the last three weeks.
About 12,000 cubic meters of earth had been cleared in total and dumped on the western side of the Whatamango Hills.

Marlborough District Council assets and services manager Mark Wheeler said the clean-up operation had cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, but he was happy to have the road open again.

The face of the embankment had been reshaped so it could support itself, he said.

Work was done from the top down, with slip material being pushed away from the face of the bank as it was reshaped.
''Slips are a common occurrence in the Sounds and will continue to happen, but our aim is to ensure the slip area is as stable and secure as we can make it,'' Wheeler said.

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- The Marlborough Express

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