Road to Recovery: SH25A, Cathedral Cove, tourism funding and more
Published on 06 September 2023
Above: Piling underway at Pier B
This week on our Road to Recovery we find out about the latest on SH25A, visiting Cathedral Cove by sea, tourism infrastructure funding and more.
SH25A Taparahi progress update
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport team continue on site as the bridge piling continues:
Abutment A: The piles have been completed and cropped down.
Pier B: The working platform (right image below) has been completed, allowing us to mobilise the piling rig and a 100T crane down into the slip. They’re currently installing four 950mm diameter pile casings into founding rock and this week they will be poured.
Pier C: The team has made great progress installing the soil nails. The working platform is well underway and once completed the piling rig is to be moved from pier B to pier C, so that piling can get underway.
Abutment D: On the Hikuai side of the bridge, the team has been preparing for the pile work. The first abutment reinforcement has arrived on site, which means work above the ground for constructing the abutment has started. This week, the team has been preparing the reinforcement for the first pour of the insitu concrete works.
Offsite: The first steel girders have completed their time in the fabrication workshop and have been moved to the protective coating booth. This signals the last step in the “offsite” process for this first lot of girders before they are transported from Napier to the site.
Check out this video of the Eastbridge team in Napier doing the hard mahi to fabricate the girders.
Find out more
Below: Schematics of the working platform on SH25A
SH25 cyclone recovery work continues
There are currently 57 sites that Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is monitoring, investigating or determining a solution for. If you’re out on the road, please be patient as Waka Kotahi’s contractors carry out work in the following areas in our district:
- SH25 Ruamahanga Bay – clearing slip material, investigation, stabilising and vegetation clearing.
- SH25 Thames Coast – clearing and construction of coastal erosion protection structures.
- SH25 Wilsons Bay – construction of coastal erosion protection structures.
- SH25 Tararu Rockfill Embankment – construction of coastal erosion protection structures.
- SH25 Pumpkin Hill and McBeth-Opoutere – drainage improvements and slip repair.
- SH25 Thornton Bay – construction of coastal erosion protection structures.
- SH25 Coroglen – slip repair.
A reminder of temporary speed limits
Drivers along the SH25 Thames Coast will have noticed the new temporary speed limits in place. These reduced speed zones are part of Waka Kotahi’s changes to ensure that speed limits fit the current use and conditions of the road.
Traffic data shows an increase of 20 per cent or around 500 vehicles per day south of Whangamatā, which supports anecdotal evidence Waka Kotahi has received of substantial traffic increases along the west coast.
“Even an increase of 1000 vehicles per day makes a significant impact on the Thames coast, because of the many small communities and narrow winding sections along the coast,” says Cara Lauder, System Manager Waikato for Waka Kotahi.
Currently, speed limits vary widely on the west coast, with speed limits of 50, 70, 80 and 100km/h depending on the location and road conditions. Please drive carefully and be mindful to match your speed to the new speed limits.
The temporary speed reductions will be removed once the bridge reconnecting SH25A is open.
Read more here
The latest on our local roads
- The tender has closed on the proposed works to repair Tapu-Coroglen Road, with six firms bidding for the works.
- Tender reviews are now underway with the intention that repairs will start in the first week in October.
- The design chosen uses mass block retaining walls to support the underslip, with materials sourced from local suppliers. This method has been chosen to ensure that works can be completed as soon as possible while providing a solution that meets the long-term needs for the route.
- Works for two sites on Tapu-Coroglen Rd will be packaged together to maximise efficiency.
- We plan to have the road reopened about mid-December, weather depending.
Priority sites for repair
- Work continues around the district to address damage to more than 70 sites identified as requiring repairs.
- We've received expressions of interest from more than 20 contractors for these works, and we hope to undertake repairs to about 24 sites over 2023/24.
- The majority of damage is clustered around the roads north of Coromandel Town where access is already difficult.
- The main priorities are Blackjack Road and The 309 Road, where multiple sites on both roads have had design work completed. Works are scheduled to begin in October, with completion expected before Christmas.
- As far as possible, we'll be making every effort to keep roads open as we carry out repairs.
Visiting Cathedral Cove by sea
With the news that the Department of Conservation (DOC) will not be reinstating its Cathedral Cove walkways for summer 2023-24, our Destination Management Organisation, Destination Hauraki Coromandel is ensuring that visitors get the message that they can still experience the beauty and grandeur of this iconic place by taking a boat or kayak tour.
When the rāhui is lifted by local iwi Ngāti Hei the beach itself will open for watercraft landing to give visitors access through the marine reserve, but rockfalls in the cathedral arch and along the adjacent cliffs pose an ongoing risk to the safety of visitors on the beach.
Experiencing Cathedral Cove on a boat or kayak tour has always been high on the list of must-do activities in the Coromandel. Guided tours take in other extraordinary volcanic forms along the rugged coastline and the clear waters are teeming with wildlife.
Visitors gain insight into the geology that formed the cove, its history and stories, plus the wildlife that makes it home here.
Boat and kayak tours operating out of Whitianga and Hahei have been taking visitors on tours, stopping to view Cathedral Cove as part of the trip.
When Ngāti Hei lifts its rāhui over the area, DOC will have safety signs in place and operators will have robust plans to assure visitor safety, so that people can land on the beach.
Visitors should understand that there is still risk associated with going ashore at the cove. The best way to visit is with one of our experienced local operators and guides, with passengers remaining in the boat on most tours.
Destination Hauraki Coromandel has developed a resource to highlight the options and make sure visitors have the outstanding experience they seek visiting Cathedral Cove this summer. Download the poster here.
Find out about tour operators(PDF, 2MB) Read about rockfall risks
Funding boon for the Coromandel
Our Council has been approved for funding totalling more than $2.6 million from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Tourism Infrastructure Fund for new and upgraded toilets, the new Whangamatā motor caravan dump station, and pathways, beach accessways and beach stairs in Mercury Bay.
Receiving the funding is conditional on resource consents and other necessary approvals being obtained for the various projects.
“This funding significantly reduces the capital cost of tourism-related infrastructure in some of our most heavily visited areas,” says our Deputy Mayor Terry Walker. “It will also help offset the cost of repairing some facilities damaged by the cyclones earlier this year and make them more resilient to extreme weather.”
The funding is round seven of the Tourism Infrastructure Fund, which totals $14.3 million nationwide. It is focused on investing in projects repairing infrastructure impacted by recent extreme weather events and improving future resilience.
Next steps for SMP Project
The three-year, award-winning Shoreline Management Pathways (SMP) Project identified our Coromandel communities’ preferred pathways of action to improve our resilience to the effects of climate change.
We are now planning to prioritise and implement projects from those pathways. Our Council will be hosting a series of meetings to update our coastal communities with the latest thinking and the next steps.
Come and find out what's happening at our public meetings:
• Tairua Hall, 12-1.30pm, Saturday 16 September
• Whitianga Town Hall, 2pm, Saturday 16 September
Further meetings are also being scheduled for Thames, Moanataiari and Tararū South.
More about the meetings More about the project
Careers Roadshow a big success
Our Coromandel Careers Roadshow last week was a big success, with plenty of locals and students turning up to find out about work and training opportunities in our district.
Our Council supported the Roadshow for local communities, to help give young people access to jobs and careers information. The Roadshow visited local schools for a day each at Whangamatā, Whitianga, Coromandel and Thames from Monday 28 August to Friday 1 September, and received some great feedback from attendees.
"We were very excited to see how popular the Roadshow was,” says our Mayor Len Salt. "It’s been good for our local residents and youth to see that there are still some great employment opportunities available in our district – and a huge thanks to all the high schools around the Coromandel who helped with hosting and getting students to attend.”
The Careers Roadshow will be back on the road again next year from 19-23 February.
Mayoral Relief funds on the way
Our Mayoral Relief social recovery fund has been aimed at helping tangata whenua, community and voluntary social service organisations who are providing services and experiencing increased costs as a direct result of severe weather events that have impacted their communities.
Applications made to the Mayoral Relief Social Recovery Fund closed on 14 August and are currently being considered. We’ll aim to notify applicants mid-September and have the funds distributed by the end of September.
Our recovery roadmap
Our online roadmap of recovery milestones is progressing well with a strong line-up of events both new and familiar.
We'll be keeping you up to date regularly as our calendar evolves.
- The new Coromandel Town Artbeat Spring Festival has started this month and runs through to December.
- The Gold Rush Steampunk Festival will be bringing colour to Thames in November.
- The new Paradise Coast Golf Classic will be held at The Lakes Resort, Pāuanui, Tairua Golf Club and Whangamatā in early December. It’s believed to be the first Triangle Tournament on the Coromandel.
Download our recovery roadmap(PDF, 223KB)
NIWA forecast update
There’s a mixed start to Spring with periods of rain and wind during September but it should begin to dry out from October onwards.
A meteorological drought is predicted by NIWA scientists in December - two months earlier than we'd normally get with typical El Nino conditions.
Key highlights include:
- Temperatures are most likely to be near average (50 per cent chance). A prevailing area of high pressure near the region may cause clear, cold nights and mornings and the potential for some unseasonable frosts.
- Rainfall totals are most likely to be below normal (45 per cent chance). Although the first half of September will be unsettled at times, an increased frequency of high-pressure systems near the region during spring will likely lead to longer spells of drier than normal conditions.
- Seasonal wind speeds may be stronger than normal. Soil moisture levels are most likely to be below normal (45 per cent chance) while river flows are about equally likely to be below normal (45 per cent chance) or near normal (40 per cent chance).
Last week for NIWE Primary Producer Finance Scheme
This Friday 8 September is the final deadline for applications to the North Island Weather Events (NIWE) Primary Producer Finance Scheme for land-based operations. The scheme is open to primary sector businesses, orchards, and farms significantly impacted by weather events in early 2023.
The scheme is being administered by Kānoa, Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit. Eligible businesses, including those from Waikato, will need to demonstrate that they are unable to secure lending from their bank (or lending body of choice).
For more information, and to apply before the scheme closes, see below.
Find out more Online application
NIWE Loan Guarantee Scheme
The North Island Weather Events Loan Guarantee Scheme, administered by Te Tai Ōhanga The Treasury, continues to be available. This will enable commercial lenders to provide loans to qualifying businesses across all sectors (including aquaculture) with more favourable terms – such as reduced interest rates, concessionary loans and equity support, providing they have a good likelihood of returning to viability.
Find out more