Tue 11 Sept 18
Ruapehu civil defence has started contingency planning in the event there is a sudden loss of the Hospital Hill section of SH43 in Taumarunui that has suffered from major under slipping.
Emergency Manager Nick Watson said that the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) plan is to upgrade the bypass route from Hekeawai Drive to SH4 before starting work on Hospital Hill.
“While there is no indication at this stage that the Hospital Hill section of SH43 will need to close before the bypass upgrade is finished we want to ensure that we are best prepared for any eventualities,” said Mr Watson.
“Council has a responsibility to plan for a worst case scenario which would have a major impact on the hospital, Downers and The Lines Company depot operations, local residents and surrounding rural communities.
With this in mind Council, Police, Fire, St John ambulance, The Lines Company, GHD, Veolia and the Waikato DHB met in Taumarunui last week (Fri 7 Sept 18) to look at the impact on their operations and what mitigations could be put in place.
Ruapehu Land Transport Manager Warren Furner said that NZTA have advised that it is working as quickly as possible to have the bypass upgrade completed.
“In the interim they are keeping a close watch on Hospital Hill for any signs of further deterioration which if observed would result in its immediate closure,” he said.
“There is quite a bit of work needed on the bypass to make it a fit for purpose two lane road with NZTA road contractors currently in the process of undertaking strengthening and widening work.
All going to plan the only traffic restriction on the bypass after its upgrade will be heavy vehicle truck and trailer units.
NZTA is also endeavoring to ensure that pedestrian access is maintained on Hospital Hill throughout the construction process including for mobility scooters.
If however pedestrian access cannot be maintained during construction on Hospital Hill a courtesy vehicle will be provided for carless and mobility restricted people needing to access the hospital.”