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Manawatu Gorge likely to remain closed until next week

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The NZTA advises motorists that the Manawatu Gorge is unlikely to open until next week following further slips last night.

Regional state highways manager David McGonigal said more debris came down overnight at the troublesome slip site that has kept the gorge closed most days since 18 August.

Mr McGonigal said the safety of motorists is paramount, and the highway would remain closed until the debris was removed, a geological assessment was complete, and the NZTA was satisfied the hillside was stable.

Mr McGonigal said the NZTA appreciated the ongoing disruption the closure is causing to motorists.

“This is by far the longest closure we’ve had since 2004, the next longest being three days in 2008, and we share the frustrations of motorists and truckies. This is a challenging piece of highway and this is one of those occasions we have to accept that nature will dictate terms from time to time.”

Mr McGonigal thanked the Higgins road crews who had been working constantly onsite since the first slip occurred.

“It’s frustrating for them, to slog all day clearing the road only to have more dirt come down overnight, and they deserve a big pat on the back for working so hard in difficult conditions.”

Mr McGonigal reiterated the NZTA’s gratitude to motorists for their ongoing patience.

Motorists are advised to use the Saddle Road or Pahiatua Track as an alternative route.

For up to date information on highway closures, conditions or delays, visit www.highwayinfo.govt.nz(external link) or phone 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49).

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