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The fresh seal on SH11 past Lemons Hill – the concrete safety barrier keeps vehicles away from the edge of the hillside and stops any loose material that washes down the slopes from going on to the road

New seal completes the restoration of SH11 at Lemons Hill

The NZ Transport Agency has completed another milestone in the rehabilitation of Lemons Hill in Northland, with the resealing of State Highway 11 past the hillside.

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The resealing of the road was completed in early March, just over a year after the big slip that led to months of road closures and disruption for locals and visitors to the Bay of Islands, says Northland system manager Jacqui Hori Hoult.

“The resealing of the road is the icing on the cake, really. It completes the restoration of the state highway after the slip. The road has been open to two-way traffic since July, but we haven’t until now been able to restore the road surface to a standard befitting a state highway,” Ms Hori Hoult says.

“It’s been a hot summer with long sunny days and little rain in Northland, which is perfect weather for road sealing. But think back to January-February of last year and it was a totally different story.”

Stabilising the hillside

Weeks of persistent heavy rain in January 2018 weakened the hillside and the slip on 13 February was followed by Cyclones Fehi and Gita, which hampered the slip clearance work.

It took five months of hard work, and the removal of 50,000 cu m of loose materials and trees to stabilise the hillside. That left five big benches cut into the hillside, with new grass and native bush planted to aid regeneration.

“Looking back, it was a big event for Northland and for our teams, and we really appreciated that the local community got behind our efforts to open the road as soon as it was safely possible,” says Ms Hori Hoult.

For the story on the work to stabilise Lemons Hill, click to download it here


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