The road was closed after a series of small slips just before Christmas left the bank unstable and the area extremely dangerous for anyone trying to get through it. As well as large areas of debris hanging precariously over the road, staff inspecting the area discovered cracks further up the site showing the land was still moving.
“We always knew the bank was going to come down sooner rather than later and in the interests of public safety we had to close the road,” Council Operations Manager Tony Martin says.
“It meant a bit of disappointment for people wanting to access the camping grounds and forest park at the end of the road during the holidays, but the big relief was that no-one was hurt in the latest slip.”
“We are urging people not to attempt to walk through the slip site or come close to have a look.”
There is an alternative walking track for people wanting to access Tararua Forest Park and/or the Department of Conservation (DOC) camping ground at the end of Ōtaki Gorge Road. The track was recently opened by DOC and goes well above the slip site, starting at Shields Flat Historic Reserve carpark. More information about the track is at doc.govt.nz (search ‘Otaki Forks emergency access track’).
There is also tramping access to the forest park area from the end of Mangone South Road in Reikorangi (25km/6–8 hours walking time).
Council is working with a geologist, surveyors and engineers to determine the scale of the problem at Blue Bluff, investigate the underlying rock structure and look at options for the future of the slip-prone area.
Ōtaki Gorge Road closure the right decision
The fresh slip, which occurred at Blue Bluff on Ōtaki Gorge Road a few weeks ago, demonstrated Council’s decision to close the road in mid-December was the right decision.
3 March 2016