The NZ Transport Agency says most slip material has now been cleared from SH3 in the Manawatū Gorge, and the road is expected to be re-opened later this week, following the repair of damaged guardrails and the installation of concrete barriers to ensure the safety of drivers.
Transport Agency Highway Manager Ross I’Anson says crews worked throughout the weekend to clear approximately 2,000 cubic metres of slip material which came down overnight on Sunday 14th May. Mr I’Anson says in total approximately 13,000 cubic meters of material has been cleared from three separate slips since the road was closed on April 24 – enough to fill more than five Olympic-size swimming pools.
While the exact timing will depend on how quickly crews are able to repair and replace damaged guardrails and install temporary concrete barriers to protect road users from further rockfalls, Mr I’Anson says everything possible is being done to re-open the gorge road by the end of this week, with single lane access past the slip sites.
“We know how vital this route is for people in the region. We are focussed one hundred percent on re-opening the road as soon as possible, and our crews are working hard to get the job done.”
Poor weather and hazardous conditions forced a temporary halt to work in the gorge last week, but heavy rain later in the week helped to bring down rocks and other loose material which had been hanging over the road following the 14 May slip, allowing crews to work on clearing the road over the weekend.
With the Pahiatua Track and the Saddle Road as alternative routes, motorists are also being reminded to be patient, drive to the conditions and watch their speeds when driving through the communities along the alternate route.
People can check the latest information on highway conditions, delays and closures at www.highwayinfo.govt.nz(external link) or by calling 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49).