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Diggers moving again at Manawatu Gorge

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Diggers are on the move again at the State Highway 3 Manawatu Gorge slip site after a period of settled weather enabled crews to return safely to the site.

NZ Transport Agency Palmerston North state highways manager David McGonigal says the NZTA has been monitoring the Gorge closely, and the settled weather has made the slip area safer for Higgins road crews to return to the site with their heavy equipment. Clearing work will continue for as long as it is deemed safe to do so.

“Since the big slip of 17 October, the ongoing instability of the site has meant workers using heavy machinery have had to steer clear of the slip for their own safety.

“Fortunately things have settled down and we can now get back in there and get stuck in.”

Mr McGonigal says work behind the scenes remains feverish, with the NZTA working intensively with roading engineers, geotechnical engineers and geological specialists to confirm details of the work program to get the gorge opened safely as soon as possible. This team is also overseeing the operation of the alternative routes to ensure they remain safe and efficient.

“We’re really keen to get the Gorge open as soon as we can, and we’ll be focusing on that as we plan how to tackle this dynamic slip site in a safe and secure manner.”

Mr McGonigal thanked locals, motorists, truckies, and all other affected people for their patience and perseverance, and stressed that the NZTA was eager to bring the temperamental hillside under control and get traffic moving again.

The NZTA will issue a further update at the end of this week.

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