06 September 2019

A drilling rig will be hard at work on Muriwai Drive, Whakatāne in the coming days as the Bay of Plenty Regional Council undertakes investigative work to learn more about the ground beneath and around adjacent floodwalls.

Regional Council’s Environmental Engineer, Kent Jacobsen says that the tractor-mounted geotechnical rig will be taking core samples at three sites.

“We are gathering information about the physical properties of the ground on which the floodwall is built, and the nature of our flood defence systems. The information from the core samples will complement existing reports and data, historical records and knowledge of the area. This will provide us with insight into the works that may be needed to address seepage that has occurred during high river levels,” Mr Jacobsen says.

Access to parts of Muriwai Drive will be restricted during the geotechnical work on Monday 9 and Tuesday 10 September. This may mean there are short periods of stop/go traffic management, or a diversion through the Game Wharf car park to minimise disruption to traffic.

Residents and visitors are asked to take care in the area, keep speeds down and drive safely around the worksite. Council and contractors recognise the significance of the area for Whakatāne residents, visitors and local iwi.

“The drilling rig will be operating near Muriwai’s Cave and we are aware of the cultural significance of this site. We have consulted with Ngāti Hokopu and Te Runanga o Ngāti Awa and they have been informed of the geotechnical investigations we are undertaking. Pedestrian access to the cave will not be restricted.” Mr Jacobsen concludes.