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March 2022 Issue
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Second slip blocks road to Tararua Forest Park

The December 2021 slip covered Otaki Gorge Road with debris.

Another slip has hampered efforts to reopen Otaki Gorge Road and improve access to Tararua Forest Park.

And it happened a week before the road was to reopen on December 17 to walkers and cyclists.

The road at Blue Bluff, 13km inland from SH1, has been closed since September 2020 when heavy rain caused it to slump towards the Otaki River.

DOC has built an emergency track over private land that bypasses the initial slips but takes up to three hours to traverse, rejoining the road about 2km short of Otaki Forks.

The latest slip at Blue Bluff covered the road in thick debris and has delayed a partial reopening of the road.

“This is incredibly disappointing as while cars would not have been able to make the journey, it would have been a one-hour walk or 20-minute cycle to Otaki Forks,” said Mark Martin, Kapiti Coast District Council acting access and transport manager.

He strongly advised people to use the emergency track and not walk over the slips.

The council has been forced back to the drawing board, with engineers assessing all options for the road, including restoring vehicle access, while it remains closed.

The council will review progress by the end of March.

DOC’s Melody McLaughlin said the emergency track would continue to be maintained.