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NZTA aims to reopen Manawatu Gorge by weekend

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The NZ Transport Agency says it aims to reopen the Manawatu Gorge on State Highway 3 before the start of the weekend, after a large slip closed the highway yesterday.

The Saddle Road and Pahiatua Track are both available as alternative routes.

The slip came down this morning, blocking the road about halfway into the gorge, and there have since been further slips in the same location.

Regional manager Errol Christiansen says NZTA contractors are working hard to clear the 5000 cubic metre slip, and the hillside is being closely monitored for stability.

“Engineers will be carrying out thorough investigations of the site over the next couple of days, and providing we get the all-clear from them, we aim to open the road again by the weekend.”

The slip was caused by heavy rainfall saturating the slope.

“The Manawatu Gorge is a challenging stretch of highway, we keep a vigilant patrol on this route, and we do expect these things to happen from time to time when the weather takes a turn for the worst,” says Mr Christiansen.

“Our contractors are doing a great job. They’re really experienced at managing incidents in the gorge.”

“We appreciate it’s an inconvenience for motorists, and we’d like to thank them for being so patient while we work to reopen the highway.”

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