The NZ Transport Agency is advising motorists that State Highway 3, south of Mokau, is on track to be re-opened to one-lane at 1pm on Thursday 22 September.
This follows a major slip blocking the road from Sunday 18 September, triggered by a large amount of rain over the weekend.
“We have been working today with abseilers to remove the last of the loose rock. Our geotechnical engineers have now advised us that the cliff face has stabilised sufficiently to allow contractors safely on site to clear the rocks and debris, and reinstate concrete barriers. Contractors are already beginning the job of removing the fallen rocks from the base of the cliff. All going well we are planning to open the road, initially to one lane, at 1pm tomorrow, Thursday,” Karen Boyt, Regional Performance Manager, NZ Transport Agency says.
“When the road does re-open, it will be under stop/go control, with a lower speed limit of 30km/h on either side of the work site. This may lead to minor delays. We anticipate that a number of people will want to travel on State Highway 3 once the road has been reopened, so we ask that motorists take this into account and are patient at the stop/go control and while driving along the route,” Ms Boyt says.
“Our team and contractors have been working hard since the slip occurred to make the site safe and to get the road open again. We realise that this closure has had a big impact on many, including the Taranaki community, and the trucking industry. The closure has been frustrating and inconvenient. We would like to thank everyone for their on-going patience while we work to get this important route open again. Safety is paramount, and we have been guided by the advice from our geotechnical engineers about when we could re-open the road,” Ms Boyt says.
“Once the road has re-opened we will begin investigation and design of the more permanent engineering solution to replace the wire mesh and ensure long-term protection of the slope.”
“We recognise the importance of State Highway 3, and its role in connecting Taranaki to the Waikato and beyond. The Transport Agency is currently investigating a package of improvements that aims to deliver more reliable, safer and well-connected journeys along State Highway 3 between Mt Messenger and Awakino Gorge, and improving the network’s resilience,” Ms Boyt says.
Until this section of State Highway 3 opens again, motorists are advised to continue to use an alternative route via State Highway 1 or State Highway 4 via Whanganui, which will add approximately three and a half hours to the journey.
Other local road routes via Ohura and State Highway 43 are not suitable detours for State Highway 3 traffic. They are narrow, windy and unsealed roads not suitable for heavy vehicles or those unfamiliar with the roads, and are not capable of supporting larger volumes of traffic.
The Transport Agency's website - www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic(external link) - will be updated with road status information, and we will have electronic message signs at key routes advising whether roads are open.
Transport Agency contractors have now cleared the slip at Tangarakau Gorge, State Highway 43.
Motorists can get real time information from:
From 6am to 7pm weekdays, updates will be available on: