Mayor Don Cameron said that the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) who have responsibility for the State Highway network have confirmed that they are committed to fixing SH4 as soon as possible following a major slip that has destroyed a large section of the highway just south of Raetihi.

“In addition NZTA have said that that they will continue with the upgrade work to fix other dropouts already planned for this summer which underlines their assurances to reinstate the highway,” said Mayor Cameron.

“Council recognises that this is incredibly disruptive to our communities and businesses so are naturally very happy with NZTA’s commitment to fix SH4 asap given its economic and social importance to Ruapehu and the Region. The magnitude and geology of the slip will probably mean that reinstating the highway will see it needing to take a different route circumventing the unstable hillside. NZTA is currently undertaking a detailed geotechnical assessment to determine what their potential options are.

Once the technical analysis is complete we have invited them to come to Ruapehu and meet with affected businesses and farmers to discuss their findings, what needs to be done, and the time-frames for fixing the highway etc. We want people to be able to get information directly ‘from the horse’s mouth’ so to speak as there are currently a few misinformed and unhelpful statements being made that have no basis in fact and are confusing the situation. Council is also in talks with other major stakeholders such as the Whanganui District Council and Health Board, emergency services, National Road carriers Association, etc. as part of finding a way forward.

However, until NZTA have completed the geotechnical analysis and other investigation work we simply do not know what the answers to these questions we all want answers to are.

Unfortunately what we can be confident of is that it will not be a quick fix,” he said.

Mayor Cameron added that Council was taking steps to help ensure the detour routes within its rohe were in the best possible shape to deal with the additional traffic volumes they would be seeing.

Our Land Transport Manager drove the Whangaehu Valley Rd/Fields Track and Raetihi-Pipiriki Rd/ Whanganui River Road detour routes over the weekend to identify any immediate safety or maintenance work required. We are fortunate in that recent pavement renewal on Whangaehu Valley Rd/Fields Track has made most all of this road reasonably robust. Council will be bringing forward the planned maintenance work on the sections still to be upgraded along with increasing patrols to monitor the how the detour routes are holding up and taking preventative maintenance as needed,” he said.

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