Work to seal State Highway 43 starts in November. The unsealed road through the Tangarakau Gorge on the Forgotten World Highway will be sealed through the project.
The first 2km of the route will be tackled this summer by local contractor Inframax.
State Highway 43 is one of two remaining unsealed sections of state highway in the country. The project will improve safety and boost the region's economy while retaining the picturesque journey and protecting the natural environment.
Safety improvements such as signage, line markings and guardrail will be installed through the gorge and the speed limit will be reviewed as part of the sealing project.
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Director of regional relationships Linda Stewart says sealing the road through the gorge will make it much safer for locals and visitors.
"It will encourage more tourists to the area as many rental car businesses don't let drivers travel on unsealed roads. This project will result in many benefits for the community and the region as a whole. We know there will be lots of people happy to see it get underway."
Linda says the project team has been working closely with iwi and the Department of Conservation to ensure the project has minimal impact on the surrounding environment, and that the picturesque journey through the gorge is retained.
The project is part of a $25.7 million package of works for the Forgotten World Highway funded through Kānoa – Regional Economic Development and Investment Unit and the regional package of the NZ Upgrade Programme.
This package of works aims to increase economic activity by helping to create jobs and contributie an estimated $35m to $45m to the region, while significantly improving safety for everyone using the route.
Stratford District Council Mayor Neil Volzke says there will be many benefits that accrue from upgrading this road and the whole region will gain by having an improved third access route into the Taranaki region.
"Successive Stratford mayors and the wider community have been calling for this for decades, so naturally I'm stoked that the first part of the sealing work in the gorge is about to begin. The total package of improvements will make the Forgotten World Highway a much safer drive and be much more inviting for visitors to the region to use."