Killer highway closed due to slip danger

Wanganui Chronicle,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 6 March 2018, 10:18a.m.
State Highway 4, where a man died while helping to clear a slip, is now closed.
State Highway 4, where a man died while helping to clear a slip, is now closed.

A section of State Highway 4 between Whanganui and Raetihi has been closed, just over a week after a man was killed by falling debris at the site.

The road has been closed by NZTA due to a high risk slip site identified at a spot roughly 2km south of Fields Track.

NZTA Regional Transport Systems Manager Ross I'Anson says the potential slip site was identified during a regularly scheduled geotechnical inspection, and the road was been closed as a precaution while a more detailed inspection is undertaken.

Paul Lenard Batchelor, 70, of Taupo was killed on the highway last week when he was hit by a rockfall while trying to help clear a slip.

I'Anson says SH4 through the Paraparas has several bluffs along its length, where the material that makes up these areas (papa) is particularly susceptible to weathering.

"The Transport Agency regularly monitors these bluffs as part of an ongoing geotechnical inspection regime for the road. While it difficult to predict exactly where or when a specific part of the slope may fail due to the unstable nature of papa, our geotechnical experts have advised that the road should be closed as a precaution until a more detailed inspection can be completed at this site."

A further update will be provided on Tuesday. The road was closed at approximately 5pm on Monday.

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