DImportant structural repairs to the northern abutment of the KeepaRoad bridge over the Kopeopeo Canal will require a twelve-day road closure nextmonth, to allow the installation of protective sheet-piling and backfilling androad resurfacing to be completed.

Whakatāne District Council Transportation Manager Martin Taylor says the planned closure will commence on Monday, 14 January 2019, with the road expected to reopen on 25 January.

“While these repairs are carried out, all vehicle traffic to and from Coastlands will be diverted via SH 30 and Huna and Fergusson Roads, a detour which will add about five kilometres to the normal trip into town,” he says. “We appreciate that this will cause some inconvenience for Coastlands and Keepa Road and Fergusson Road residents, but it was considered that a closure during this period would at least reduce the impact on school and commuter traffic.”

Mr Taylor says contractor crews will be working seven days a week, 12 hours a day, to minimise the duration of the road closure. Signage will be in place to inform road users and newspaper and radio advertising will be undertaken closer to the closure dates. Additional traffic management activity will also be provided at the SH30/Huna Road intersection to enhance safety for turning traffic.

Residents living along the detour route will also need to be aware of the increased traffic flows on their normally quiet roads during the road closure period and take extra care when entering and leaving their properties.

“The work will address an ongoing issue with the northern approach to the bridge being gradually undermined, forming a hole under the seal which ultimately breaks through into the road surface and requires emergency repairs,” he explains. “To provide a cost-effective, long-term solution, sheet piles will be driven to below the canal bed, to prevent material from being ‘sucked’ into the canal by changes in the water level.”

The Keepa Road shared-use path for pedestrians and cyclists will remain open during the work period, with access control in place to ensure path users get safely through the work site.