Future of Coromandel Peninsula's State Highway 25A still unclear with slip that closed it now longer than a rugby field

The future of State Highway 25A (SH25A), which cuts across the Coromandel Peninsula, is set to be announced in May.

The huge slip that closed it is now longer than a rugby field, creating one massive repair job to reconnect these coastal communities. 

Geotechnical investigations are expected to finish this week and will help to determine the best repair option, out of the three solutions currently on the table. 

"In terms of a slip, an underslip, this is huge. It's a very, very, big project," Waka Kotahi's Jo Wilton shared.  

The project began at the end of January but was put on pause when the section of SH25A started to wash away in Cyclone Hale.

It forced the closure of the crucial road between Kopu and Hikuai with the slip roughly 130 metres long and around 30 metres deep.

Beca design engineer Nathan McKenzie shared that "nothing has slipped in the last few weeks other than very minor bits and pieces where people have been pushing things around and we know where they are and we avoid them".

Two drilling rigs are on site retrieving soil samples to determine what the ground conditions are like. 

This work is expected to be completed this week. 

"When we put them all together we can build a model of the site and that helps us to understand what materials are still present, the distribution of them, how strong they are and that then helps us to inform what remediation option that we can consider," McKenzie said.

There are three options they are looking into, retreating north and building a bypass around the top of the site, constructing a bridge or rebuilding the supporting ground with retaining walls. 

"We are looking at having a decision made in May on which option we are going to progress with," Wilton said.

"We are looking at cost, we are looking at something that has to work, that has to meet design standards and we are also looking at something that can be done fast," added McKenzie. 

The monster slip continues to cause lengthy detours for locals and tourists alike

Waka Kotahi has previously warned it could take up to 12 months before it reopens, but with winter looming it's a timeframe that's weather dependent. 

"If it's going to rain the entire winter, then we will struggle to get work done. If it's a mild winter and if it's dry, then we will be able to do a lot of work," said Wilton.