Almost 200 people have filled the Palmerston North Conference and Function Centre to hear the New Zealand Transport Agency unveil alternative options to the Manawatu Gorge.

NZTA highways manager Ross I'anson said the organisation had come up with 13 options for the key distribution link.

He is speaking about the detailed business case they have progressed. Tonight's meeting is to give the public information although "there won't be much detail".

There will be open days in October once the long list has been shortened.

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That timeframe is very quick according to Mr I'anson. There will be a tool for online engagement.

Several people put forward the option of a tunnel.

The slip which prevented State Highway 3 through the Manawatu Gorge from re-opening. Photo / Supplied
The slip which prevented State Highway 3 through the Manawatu Gorge from re-opening. Photo / Supplied

One thing they found is that Tararua ranges are higher on one side which is a significant factor.

Mr I'anson said most options will require a new bridge.

He said all options that go over the hill go through the windfarm.

Long term solution will be looking to avoid Ashhurst.

All 13 options will be assessed against a whole list of criteria including economic growth.

Constraints and benefits for road users will also be looked at.

"We need to keep our eye on the goal", Mr I'anson said.

"In terms of next steps, we'd like to know if you think we've missed a serious option," he said.

A December announcement will be made for the final option.

How much per annum are we spending on gorge maintenance? Asked one man. "You haven't given us a timeline, you're asking us for solutions. I think its ludicrous."