Work starts to stabilise riverbank on Te Puke Highway
Work to strengthen a small section of the Kaituna riverbank alongside Te Puke Highway has started this week. Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is working in partnership with mana whenua, Tapuika, and the Western Bay of Plenty District Council to create a safer, more resilient road and stabilise the riverbank opposite Tuhourangi Marae. A retaining wall will be constructed along the river's edge near the Te Puke Highway and Pah Rd intersection, using a combination of sheet piles and soil anchors. The area will be reinforced to minimise the impact of ongoing erosion and to help preserve a significant habitat for indigenous fish in the Kaituna River. Temporary concrete barriers have been installed to protect construction workers from traffic. A small section of Te Puke Highway outside Tuhourangi Marae has been temporarily widened and traffic is being relocated there for the duration of the works. A 30km/h temporary speed limit will be in place for the safety of both motorists and road workers. Road users are advised to drive with caution through the project site. Before the end of the year, more than 50 soil anchors (each 15 metres long) will be inserted underneath the road and tested. In the new year, a 42 metre-long retaining wall will be built and more than 50 sheet piles (each 20 metres deep) will be driven vertically into the bank, back from the river's edge. These works are scheduled to be complete by late summer 2022 to minimise any impact on the spawning of fish, such as ¯ınanga (whitebait), tuna (eel) and ko¯kopu (bully), that inhabit the Kaituna River. Initial works were anticipated to get underway in late-2020 but were paused to allow for the relocation of services situated in the path of construction. While Waka Kotahi aims to minimise any disturbance to residents, this work may generate some noise and vibration. Upon completion of the works, the area will be revegetated in association with mana whenua.