Work continues to provide a more resilient journey on Forgotten World Highway


Crews working to seal Tāngarākau Gorge on the Forgotten World Highway will be back onsite from January to continue construction and also build four additional retaining walls.

The project will see the unsealed 12km section of State Highway 43/Forgotten World Highway chip-sealed, making the road safer and more accessible for locals and visitors wanting to experience the iconic back country journey.

Crews are on track to have the entire state highway sealed by the end of next year (2024), providing a more resilient and safer connection between Taumaranui and Stratford.

Work on the sealing project through the gorge since October has seen crews:

  • complete drainage and pavement works
  • build 600 metres of underground stormwater pipes and surface concrete dish channel (gutters)
  • build 155 metres of reinforced concrete roadside barrier beams
  • upgrade 27 culvert pipes
  • build 11 timber and rock retaining walls along a total length of 2.7 kilometres.

Waka Kotahi Project Manager Sree Nutulapati says additional funding has been secured to build more retaining walls through the gorge.

“The retaining walls are a really important part of the sealing project - the new retaining walls will help protect the road from dropping out during weather events, greatly improving the reliability of this route for locals and visitors. 

“Due to the narrowness of the road, crews need to reinstate daytime closures from 9 January to the end of March 2024 to do the work. The road closures will be in place through the gorge Monday – Friday between 9am and midday and 1pm and 3pm. The road will be open at midday so people can travel through.”

“Either side of the closures, the road will also be open between 7am and 8.30am and 3.30pm and 7pm -  people should expect delays of up to 15 minutes driving through the gorge.

When the road closures are in place, any through traffic will be stopped at the intersections of Moki Road and Heao Road so people can turn around before they reach the road closure.  

Emergency services and residents will be allowed through the road closure when required.

“Putting the closures in place will be disruptive but we’re confident that by taking the time now to build these retaining walls, we’ll be able to better help protect the road for all users,” says Mr Nutulapati.

“We’re grateful for the tremendous amount of support we’ve had from communities on the road and those who use it. It’s clear that sealing the gorge and making the road more resilient will ensure it can be enjoyed by future generations of locals and visitors.”

During the holiday period, between tomorrow and 8 January, there won’t be any work on the road and it will be fully open.

work crew on unsealed road doing pavement works

Crews building concrete roadside barrier beams.