There were heated questions in Palmerston North last night as the NZTA revealed 13 options to replace the Manawatu Gorge.

And the anger didn't dissipate with proposals to keep the meeting behind closed doors.

"The announcement is somewhat encouraging I don't have a prob with that," said Manawatū resident, Ian Flyger.

"But I do feel the options given could have a better indication from NZTA, who is funded to the degree that they are the experts, should... stand up there and say what do you think.


"We're basic laymen, we have no real options to give, we don't know the geological format of the range."

Regional Transport Systems Manager, Ross I'Anson said the consultation was an attempt to get community feedback at an early stage, with no favoured option from the NZTA.

"Four of the [options] are going across the Ruahine Ranges north of the gorge, four over the Tararua Ranges on the southern side, three through the gorge which are tunnel options.

For those who can't make the public meetings there is a web link with more information.

"The virtual pinpoint is a map with the options on it," I'Anson said. "You can drop your virtual pin and drop it on there. It's a really helpful way for people to get involved, put their ideas forward and for us to take it on board."

With public workshops planned including in Woodville tonight, he hoped to have the decision locked in soon.

"In mid December, we'll be come out saying this is the option we'll be moving forward with, which is pretty quick for this stage of the process.

"rom there we might go to purchase consenting, and start looking at designing straight away. It's hard to say but we're going to move as quick as we can. We hope we can do it in 3-4 years."

Like the gorge itself, NZTA has a tricky road to navigate ahead.

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