Gorge road to reopen this week

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The gorge after the slip in August of last year. Photo / Sonita Chandar
The gorge after the slip in August of last year. Photo / Sonita Chandar

The Manawatu Gorge will reopen to vehicles this week for the first time since being blocked by a massive slip in August.

The gorge is expected to be open to one lane of traffic on a temporary road in time for Queen's Birthday weekend.

NZTA Palmerston North state highways manager David McGonigal says good progress has been made on the temporary road, which should be open by Thursday, weather permitting.

"This is a really positive development, and we're delighted to be so close to this milestone before Queen's Birthday weekend, and just in time for the arrival of winter. The team have worked their backsides off to get to this point, and it will be a special moment to see the first cars roll through," he said.

"The public's support and patience has been appreciated every single day of the last nine months, and it's been a huge motivating factor for the team as they've battled to get the road reopened."

Mr McGonigal said the temporary road would still be vulnerable to wear and tear and erosion, so would need to be closely monitored. The gorge would be closed again if there were any concerns about safety.

"Traffic arrangements and opening times will be subject to change at short notice, so we ask that motorists follow the signs at all times, and allow enough time up their sleeves to use the alternative routes if required," he said.

The road is only one lane in width, and will be open to westbound traffic from Woodville to Ashhurst during the day, and two-way traffic at night. Eastbound traffic will still be detoured over Saddle Rd during the day, and motorists are urged to check for the latest updates before travelling.

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