The NZ Transport Agency advises motorists that there may be some delays on State Highway 3 through the Manawatu Gorge next week, but there's good news as well - once the roadworks are out of the way, the Gorge recovery effort will be completely finished.
NZTA Palmerston North state highways manager David McGonigal says contractors will be laying down a second coat of seal on the newly rebuilt section of road and bridges in front of the former slip site. Once the new road surface is in place, fresh road markings will be painted, marking the completion of the new section of road. The work is weather dependant, so will be carried out during the first decent window of dry weather next week.
“These roadworks might seem mundane, but they’re the last coat of paint on what has been a long and demanding recovery effort.
‘The gorge has been fully open for some time, but there’s been a range of niggly jobs that we needed to get done before we could pack up. This is the last of those jobs.
“When we build a new road, we have to come back a few weeks later and lay down a second layer of asphalt to ensure it stays tough and durable - so that's what this final task is. Once the job’s done, the contractors will be packing up their site office and having a well earned cuppa.”
Mr McGonigal says minor delays for motorists are likely over the week, and the site will be controlled by stop-go operation and speed restrictions. Motorists are asked to leave around ten minutes up their sleeve. He says the NZTA is grateful to motorists for remaining patient during what is expected to be the last significant delays of the slip recovery operation.
Crews will also be installing permanent signs and edge marker posts in coming days, as well as carrying out general cleanup work before the Higgins site office, which has been in place for over one year, is packed away. Higgins will continue their day to day role overseeing the maintenance and operation of the Manawatu Gorge highway on behalf of the NZTA.
Mr McGonigal says while the work at the gorge site is nearly finished, the NZTA will continue to work with Tararua District Council and Palmerston North City Council over the rehabilitation and upgrade of the Saddle Road.