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Forgotten World Highway (SH43) open to traffic at Tunnel Hill, Aukopae

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A section of the Forgotten World Highway, which has been closed since 15 October due to a large underslip, has reopened to one lane of traffic.

All traffic, including trucks, can now use the road. Temporary 30km/h speed limits are in place and motorists travelling downhill should give way to those travelling uphill.

The slip first occurred in September, closing the section of road to heavy vehicles only. Subsequent lane movement caused the road to slip away further on 15 October and the area was closed to all vehicles, with a detour in place.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Acting Systems Manager, Mark Owen thanks people for their patience during the road closure.

“We know this road closure has inconvenienced locals and impacted businesses in the area, so we are pleased to get the road back up and running before the holiday period.”

The Transport Agency has temporarily restored the road to one lane by digging out part of the hillside and stabilising the bank with around 200 tonnes of rocks, before building a new sealed lane away from the slip area.

Nineteen poplar trees were removed from the site before the hillside could be excavated. These trees were donated to volunteer group Good Neighbour to be cut into fire wood and distributed to locals in need.

The Transport Agency is developing a solution for permanently reinstating the road to two lanes and expects to be able to provide more detail on this early next year.

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