Forgotten World Highway improvements motoring ahead


Excellent progress has been made on improvement projects for State Highway 43, the Forgotten World Highway.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Director of Regional Relationships Linda Stewart says a significant amount of work has been done on the project to seal the Tāngarākau Gorge, which got underway in November last year, as well as a number of other projects along the route.

"Sealing the road through the gorge will make journeys much safer and easier for locals and visitors."

"In addition to improving the safety of the route, this project will result in many economic benefits to the Taranaki region, through tourism and the employment opportunities due to the increased economic activity."

Construction of the first 2km of the 12km unsealed stretch of road is underway, with all culvert works completed and a channel to move water away from the road installed.

Pavement works will start in mid-March with sealing expected to commence late March.

The design for Stage 2 of the sealing project is also nearing completion.

To allow the work to be undertaken safely and efficiently in the gorge's geographically constrained environment, traffic is being let through on the hour between 8am and 5pm on weekdays.

"We are grateful to the local community, businesses and travelling public for adhering to the traffic management currently in place.

"Your cooperation and patience have meant crews can carry out the work safely and efficiently," says Ms Stewart.

Other improvement work on the Forgotten World Highway includes the Manawawiri Stream replacement bridge, which was completed in December last year and is now open to traffic.

The damaged culvert at Manawawiri Stream is currently being removed. This is expected to take about two weeks, then planting will be undertaken around the area to complete the project.

Other safety improvement works have also been completed, with 225 new signs installed along the route, nine wayfinding and stopping areas have been sealed and new line markings have been added to a further two.

All the trees on the roadside that posed a safety risk have now been removed.

Safety barrier design work has been completed and installation will start in April.

The design for the Kahouri Stream Bridge replacement is almost complete, with construction of the bridge structure scheduled to start later this year.

Funded through the regional package of the NZ Upgrade Programme and Kānoa – Regional Economic Development and Investment unit, improvements to the Forgotten World Highway aim to bring more tourism to the region and improve safety and reliability of the route, while retaining the picturesque journey and projecting the natural environment.

Schedule for traffic through the Tangarakau Gorge Monday to Friday

Northbound and southbound traffic will be let through the site at the following times under Stop/Go traffic management with temporary speed limits in place:

  • 9am
  • 10am
  • 11am
  • 12-1pm (road open)
  • 2pm
  • 3pm
  • 4pm

People are asked to plan their journeys to arrive at the gorge at these times to avoid delays of up to one hour.

Crews will clear traffic at other times if there are vehicle queues and emergency services will be permitted access at all times.