Road maintenance on the Saddle Rd is set to begin this weekend as the New Zealand Transport Agency works to repair sections of the route in need of critical maintenance.

Yesterday NZTA advised motorists that repair work on the Saddle Rd would begin on Saturday due to the road being under extra pressure following the closure of the Manawatu Gorge.

Regional transport system manager Ross I'Anson said there would be restrictions to traffic for about three weeks to ensure the "heavy maintenance repairs" could be completed as quickly as possible.

Between the hours of 9am and 3pm traffic moving from Ashhurst to Woodville would move through a single traffic lane on Saddle Rd and traffic going from Woodville to Ashhurst would travel via a detour over the Pahiatua Track.

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Mr I'Anson said the work was "essential" to ensure the Saddle Rd, which was already undergoing an $8.5 million upgrade due to be completed this summer, was able to safely cope with the increase in traffic volumes it had experienced since the gorge closed in April this year.

"This work is however dependent on the weather and a decision will be made each day on what works are able proceed. If the weather is too poor to allow the work to go ahead Saddle Road will be open to traffic in both directions."

The sheer size of the large milling machines required for the maintenance work was the reason traffic was to be restricted during the repairs, which are set to strengthen the road and improve motorists' journeys.

The New Zealand Transport Agency has advised road maintenance will be done to repair sections of Saddle Rd which are in need of critical maintenance. Photo/Duncan Brown
The New Zealand Transport Agency has advised road maintenance will be done to repair sections of Saddle Rd which are in need of critical maintenance. Photo/Duncan Brown

Roadworks and restriction updates were to be displayed around the routes and NZTA contractors had been putting up extra signs around Woodville about the detours.

The Pahiatua Track was also being monitored while the gorge remained closed and the transport agency was working with local authorities in the area to reinforce signage about the routes.