Road opens in perfect time
Golden Bay's Bird's Hill, which was obliterated by landslides in 2011, has been restored to a fully functioning two-lane highway, just in time for the arrival of thousands of tourists this summer.
Yesterday Fulton Hogan painted white lines down the middle of the new road. This was one of the final tasks in what the New Zealand Transport Agency said was a "complex geological operation" where the hillside was stabilised and rebuilt.
Acting highways manager for Nelson-Tasman NZTA Mark Owen said he was just so pleased to have the road back to full capacity before Christmas.
"That's what we promised the Golden Bay community, and the workers have gone at it all guns blazing to make sure they delivered.
"The Golden Bay community have been incredibly patient and supportive, they understood just how complex a job it was and that we had to take the time to plan and build a solution that would last the distance."
Mr Owen said rebuilding the road was only a small part of the job; the tricky part was stabilising the hillside.
"Long after it collapsed, there appeared to be ongoing movement in the hillside, it was practically alive.
"So we had to devise a solution that would prevent the hillside slipping out from underneath the road. We settled on a combination of two things, a reinforced soil slope and a realignment of the road to make it less vulnerable."
The road was also widened to provide a safer route that was more accommodating for road users, particularly cyclists.
Mr Owen said the agency was aware of a desire for a dedicated cycle lane but the priority had to be restoring full access as soon as possible for the Golden Bay community.
He appreciated the superb efforts of MWH and Fulton Hogan for seeing the project through to this stage.
For real-time travel and traffic information in Tasman and Nelson these holidays, call 0800 4 Highways, visit nzta.govt.nz or sign up for email alerts at onthemove.govt.nz.