The NZ Transport Agency is advising motorists that the Manawatu Gorge will be closed until further notice as rising river levels have caused significant erosion which has severely damaged the temporary road through the gorge, making it unusable for vehicles.
The NZ Transport Agency says the one-lane operation at the Manawatu Gorge continues to flow nicely, with drivers taking advantage of extended opening hours for two-way traffic while bridge reconstruction work ramps up around them.
The public will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to walk along part of State Highway 3 and see the Manawatu Gorge slip site up close, with a charity open day being held this Sunday (20 May) in support of the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter.
The NZ Transport Agency says that it is aiming to reopen State Highway 3 through the Manawatu Gorge by the end of May, although full two way unrestricted operation is still likely to be around four months away.
NZ Transport Agency is set carry out a critical assessment of the damage to the underlying road and bridges at the Manawatu Gorge slip site early next week, as crews continue strong progress peeling back the layers of dirt blocking the highway.
Trucks are once again carting away slip debris round the clock, and NZTA Palmerston North state highways manager David McGonigal says this has led to another week of excellent progress clearing the gorge.
The NZ Transport Agency says following some very productive days of slip-clearing operations, work carting slip material has experienced a minor setback following onsite safety concerns, although the gorge is still marching on towards a mid-year opening.