Access road to Kakanui reopens at end of week

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Access from Oamaru to Kakanui via Beach Rd will reopen at the end of the week after a section of the road was closed following a slip.

The slip that occurred near Kakanui on Saturday resulted in a detour being put in place along Seadown and Fortification roads.

Waitaki District Council assets group manager Neil Jorgensen said the detour, which was put in place to protect the public until remedial work could be carried out, should be lifted by Saturday once a safety barrier was made so that one-way access could be reinstated.

The roads where the detour is in place are particularly narrow, which makes it a challenge for all involved, he said.

While a definitive cause of the slip had yet to be determined, it was thought that a rock shelf had fallen away into the sea, causing the collapse of a large amount of soil, he said.

“The sea has been undermining the limestone shelf to the north of the slip and it appears to have collapsed,” Mr Jorgensen said.

“The soil above is incredibly wet following heavy and persistent rain over the last several weeks. The weight of the soil has been too heavy for the rock shelf, already compromised by coastal erosion, and this is seen as a factor to the shelf breaking off.”

He said residents had also mentioned that the sea had been particularly rough over the last year, which may have been a factor.

There was still a lot of work to do and they needed to assess all the options of what to do with the road, but it would come under the Coastal Roads Strategy currently being drafted, he said.

They were organising the materials for the safety barrier yesterday and the costs of the temporary repairs would be relatively inexpensive, Mr Jorgensen said.

Councillor and Kakanui resident Melanie Tavendale said safety was the main priority but the general feeling of the Kakanui community was that the sooner the road reopened the better.

Cr Bill Kingan said the slip would come as a suprise to most people, as the area where it occurred had not been as badly eroded as other parts of the road.

By RUBY HARFIELD

PHOTO: RUBY HARFIELD

ACCESS TO OPEN: From left councillors Bill Kingan and Melanie Tavendale with assets group manager Neil Jorgensen survey the slip north of Kakanui.