Solution in sight for Gladstone Road

Published on 06 March 2019

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A solution is in sight for those affected by landslips on Gladstone Road, with Horowhenua District Council considering the option of realigning the road.

Horowhenua District Council Acting Group Manager Infrastructure Services, Rob Green, said Council officers have been investigating the feasibility of realigning a 1.2 kilometre stretch of Gladstone Road to the opposite side of the Omahu Stream. The new section of road would include two single-lane bridges.  This new alignment will eliminate the risk from landslips and dropouts that exist in the current 1.2km section.

“We need to do this because geotechnical advice shows there are likely to be further landslips on Gladstone Road, and there are few options for treating the land itself to reduce the risk. Although residents have been able to use an emergency route into the area when the road has been closed, it is on private land and is not suitable for long-term use,” he said.

At its meeting on Wednesday 6 March, Council authorised due diligence to be undertaken and negotiations to begin for the purchase of a 29.5 hectare block of land in Gladstone Road over which the realignment will run.

Gladstone Road between Poads Road and Makahika Road has long been prone to landslips. The most recent large slip occurred in January 2017 resulting in a large quantity of rocks and debris blocking the road and falling into the stream below. Although the initial slip was cleared, further debris continued to fall over the next few weeks, requiring continuous monitoring for traffic safety during daylight hours and closure of the road at night. The slip has continued to cause issues on and off ever since with the road having to be closed again on several occasions, the longest in August 2018 for another week.

“The slips cause significant inconvenience to those who need access along Gladstone Road, as well as creating potential safety risks. There are a number of homes up there and several forestry plantations, as well as the Makahika Outdoor Pursuits Centre, which is visited by about 100 children per week,” Mr Green said.

“Since January 2017, clearing and monitoring the slip has cost Horowhenua District Council and the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA), which subsidises the roading activity, around $220,000. Realigning the road would resolve access issues and avoid the costs caused by further slips.”

Mr Green said cost estimates for realigning the road would be confirmed during due diligence. Council’s share could be as low as 20.5% of the total, if the project qualifies for an enhanced Funding Assistance Rate (FAR) from NZTA.

Horowhenua District Council Chief Executive David Clapperton said Council had received positive feedback from Gladstone Road residents about the proposal to realign the road.