The NZ Transport Agency says work to re-open the Manawatu Gorge following slips which closed the road, is progressing well.

Transport Agency highway manager Ross I'Anson said sluicing operations, where helicopters dropped water from monsoon buckets to clear a rock outcrop above the large slip area were now complete and that material was now being removed from the road.

This work will continue for the next few days.

Design work for safety fencing structures to be installed across sections of the slip face has already commenced.

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"This work has been possible at this earlier stage, by the use of aerial drones that are mapping the area and providing a detailed model of the slip face," Mr I'Anson said.

"Typically we couldn't start this work until the whole slip face was clear to enable the engineers to scale the slip face."

Meanwhile previously planned maintenance work on the gorge has been able to go ahead while the slip work goes on.
This includes asphalt surfacing, guardrail repairs, clearing of drainage channels, full inspections of the other 71 bridges and general maintenance works difficult to undertake with traffic flowing.

All work on the small slip site is now complete, with rock netting in place.
The NZTA is still planning on re-opening the road by May 18.