This summer the Chronicle is bringing you another look at some of the best content of 2019. This story originally ran on October 03, 2019
Following this week's slip which closed the State Highway 4 Parapara Rd, a trucking advocate now fears Whanganui and Raetihi could be looking at a "Manawatū Gorge-like situation". Jesse King reports.
Executive officer of the National Road Carriers Association, Tom Cloke, is planning to visit the site of an underslip about 500m north of the Matahiwi Track which closed the troubled road on Wednesday.
On Thursday, NZTA commissioned a geotechnical investigation to determine the exact cause of the slip, the severity of it and what repair work is needed.
Cloke said the latest closure was going to be long-term.
"It's going to have a severe impact to the local economy, for the farmers and for people getting from Raetihi to Whanganui," Cloke said.
"We could be seeing another Manawatū Gorge situation. From what I'm told it's around about 400m long. It's a long piece of road."
The Manawatū Gorge recently got the green light for a replacement highway after it had been closed since 2017 due to multiple slips.
Rex Martin owns the farmland that the Parapara slip is running through and said it would take "months and months" to fix the issue.
"You won't believe what's below it. It's stopped right down below the river and it's actually blocking the river," Martin said.
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"I haven't seen anything like this for years and I've never seen something this bad."
The Chronicle reported that the State Highway 4 Parapara Rd had been closed on Wednesday due to an unstable surface near Ohotu Rd.
Contractors advised NZTA that the road would remain closed overnight and in an update on Thursday, NZTA said the road would continue to be closed until Friday.
They are expecting to have more updates available by 10am today.
Cloke said that a long-term closure would be quite devastating for truck drivers carrying freight.
"It's going to be a cost that's ongoing for some time. You have to recover the extra mileage and the extra hour in the day that we're going to lose to get that freight in.
"It's going to have a major tourist impact for skiing and those things. It's not just about the freight industry, it's about the livelihood of people throughout the area."
An essential thoroughfare, the Parapara Rd is renowned for experiencing slips, having sharp bends and eroding cliffs.
In February 2018, Paul Lenard Batchelor, aged 70, was killed by falling rocks when he stopped to clear debris off the road near Raukawa Falls.
By 2019 a total of more than $40 million had been spent on emergency works to fix damage caused by the 2015 storm.
The current detour routes for motorists in light vehicles is through SH1 and Fields Track, while heavy vehicles are advised to use SH1 and 49.
NZTA said they will be able to provide an update after the investigation is complete.