New rockfalls push back reopening of SH3 through Manawatu Gorge
The NZ Transport Agency says hazardous conditions caused by poor weather has forced a temporary halt to slip clearance work on SH3 in the Manawatu Gorge.
An additional 2,000 cubic metres of slip material has come down on the road overnight on Sunday 14th May. While contractors have been able to clear some of the new material, there is a risk that further rocks and other loose material, sitting above the slip, may come down.
“We’re disappointed that we won’t be able to re-open the road this week as planned, and we know how frustrating these closures are for everyone, but the conditions at the slip site at the moment are simply too unstable for work to continue safely,” says Transport Agency Highway Manager Ross I’Anson.
Mr I’Anson says further rain forecast over the next few days is likely to bring down the unstable material above the road, allowing clearance work to resume.
“Our crews will be clearing material as soon as it is safe to do so. We know how vital this route is for people in the region and we are focussed on re-opening the road as soon as possible.”
Mr I’Anson says clearance work of the original slip material has progressed well, with helicopters sluicing the larger of the two slips and contractors working hard to clear the slip material from the road.
Mr I’Anson says the situation will be reassessed at the end of the week, and with the current unstable conditions it is too early to provide a date for reopening of the state highway.
With the Pahiatua Track and the Saddle Road as alternative routes, motorists are also being reminded to be patient and drive to the conditions.
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).
The NZ Transport Agency works to create transport solutions for all New Zealanders – from helping new drivers earn their licences, to leading safety campaigns to investing in public transport, state highways and local roads.