Tararua District Mayor Tracey Collis is devastated the Manawatu Gorge won't be opening tomorrow.

"The implications for our businesses in Woodville and motorists is devastating and I'm seeking a meeting with mayors in Manawatu and representatives of Horizons Regional Council and Hawke's Bay Regional Council to consider long-term options for this vital route," she told the Dannevirke News.

"Again people have lost their confidence because they've all been focused on the gorge reopening after a three-week closure.

"That's the crushing part for everyone. They've been focused on making it through and now we don't have a date as to when the gorge road will open."


State Highway 3 through the Manawatu Gorge was shut after a large slip closed both lanes at the Woodville end of the road on April 24.

A smaller slip at the other end of the gorge at the same time was cleared and the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) had hoped the road would open May 18.

However, about 2000cu m of rock and debris crashed down on the road on Sunday night, killing those expectations.

The NZTA has said hazardous conditions, caused by poor weather, forced a temporary halt to work on Monday.

Its highway manager, Ross I'Anson, doesn't have a new re-opening date for the gorge, but said the situation would be reassessed at the end of the week.

Meanwhile, Bridge Cafe owner Rebecca Algie is urging people to support her cafe which continues to stay open, despite the gorge's extended closure.

"Yes, we are still open 10am to 4pm, seven days a week, so we're asking customers to come and support our dedication as we stand tall," she said.

And although the road-closed signs were up, Ms Algie said customers could still make it to her business, as well as Ferry Reserve on the banks of the Manawatu River.


Mrs Collis has asked the Tararua Alliance for road counts to determine how much traffic is bypassing Woodville.

"Woodville really needs our business," she said.

"At Tuesday's reopening of the Manawatu Gorge track walk, Conservation Minister Maggie Barry admitted the gorge is the lifeline to our community and acknowledged how important the road was."

With almost 59,000 people walking the track, the number who then headed into Woodville was "phenomenal", Mrs Collis said.