24 hours on - it’s all good at the Gorge


24 hours after its partial reopening yesterday, traffic is continuing to flow smoothly through the State Highway 3 Manawatu Gorge.

NZ Transport Agency Palmerston North state highways manager David McGonigal says the NZTA has been thrilled with the smooth operation of the temporary road, and has commended motorists for taking it easy and being so patient and cautious during the early stages of the reopening.

“We want to thank motorists for taking it easy in these early stages while we all get used to having traffic flowing through the gorge. People have been patient, cautious and friendly, and that’s just great to see and it helps everything go smoothly for everyone.”

“We will continue to keep a really close eye on the weather and the condition of the road. While we’re delighted motorists are enjoying their return to the Gorge, it’s important people remember the small print – the status of the road is subject to change at short notice, keep some time up your sleeve in the event of delays, and if in doubt, follow the signs.”

Mr McGonigal thanked Higgins for their work getting the temporary road prepared and managing traffic through the site.

“Our contractors have been committed to getting this gorge open right since the get-go, and they should be very proud to see traffic trundling past them just in time for the long weekend.”

Mr McGonigal stressed that the alternative routes remained two-way roads, and that while traffic volumes from Woodville-Ashhurst will have dropped significantly, people mustn’t get complacent about the risk of oncoming traffic.

“The gorge will have taken a lot of the traffic off the alternative routes, but there’s still going to be traffic coming the other way so we’re urging motorists to stay alert, stay careful, follow the road rules and stick to the posted speed limits.”

The gorge has been reopened to 24 hour traffic from Woodville towards Ashhurst, and from 7pm to 7am for motorists travelling from Ashhurst towards Woodville. The one lane road will be managed by stop-go operation during its two-way night-time operation.

The partial reopening of the gorge will be strictly subject to weather and onsite conditions. Further details of the opening arrangements will be confirmed on Wednesday. People are advised to check the NZTA’s Manawatu Gorge web page, or email manawatugorge@nzta.govt.nz for more information.