Focus shifts for Tāngarākau Gorge contractors ahead of winter


Four months of daily closures through Tāngarākau Gorge on State Highway 43/Forgotten World Highway have now finished.

However, next week crews working on drainage and building retaining walls will be operating stop/stop traffic management (where both lanes of traffic are brought to a stop at the same time).

NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi is advising road users to expect the stop/stop controls intermittently daily between 7am and 5pm. Road users are advised to plan for potential delays of up to 45 minutes. Outside of these hours, the road will be open.

After May, crews will continue drainage works with delays of between 5 and 10 minutes expected through the gorge.

NZTA Project Manager Sree Nutulapati thanks everyone for their patience and cooperation while this work happens.

“These delays will be frustrating for all road users, however they’re needed to allow crews to complete the final section of piling for the latest retaining wall.

“The location of the stop/stop traffic management will vary daily and reflect where the crane is working at the time. Where possible, the delay may be shorter than 45 minutes. For example if the crane is in a place where it can safely be moved off the road, it will be moved to let waiting traffic through as quickly as possible.

“Working in the gorge has proven to be challenging due to the constrained environment and unpredictable ground conditions but crews have been able to get a significant amount of work completed while the daily closures were in place.

“During construction, our contractors have built retaining walls helping to ensure the stability of the route over the winter months.

“Additionally 2.8 kilometres of the road through the gorge has been sealed this season, taking the total amount sealed to 5.2km.”

Sealing of the remaining section will get back underway in spring this year. 

The gorge project will ultimately see the unsealed 12 kilometre section of the Forgotten World Highway chip-sealed, making the road safer and more accessible for locals and visitors wanting to experience the iconic back country journey.