Project to seal the Forgotten World Highway gets back underway


People travelling the Forgotten World Highway/State Highway 43 this summer are asked to plan ahead to avoid delays as work to seal the picturesque Tāngarākau Gorge gets back underway.

The project, which commenced last summer, will see the unsealed 12km 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.

Waka Kotahi Project Manager Sree Nutulapati advises that road closures within the Tāngarākau gorge will be required when work is happening.

“This is due to the constrained environment through the gorge and the heavy machinery required to complete the work”, says Mr Nutulapati

From next Monday, 9 October through to Friday 13 October crews will be onsite from 8am to 5pm and motorists should plan for delays of up to one hour when travelling through the gorge. Traffic queues will be cleared every hour through the day starting at 9am.

From 16 October until mid-December daily road closures will be placed through the gorge Monday – Friday between 9am and midday and 1pm and 3pm. The road will be open at midday so people can travel through.

When the road closures are in place any through traffic will be stopped at the intersections of Moki Road and Heao Road so people can turn around before they reach the road closure. Residents will be permitted up to the road closure points at all times.

Emergency services will be allowed through the road closure when required.

“We acknowledge that these road closures will be disruptive. Closing the road means we can complete the bulk of the work prior to Christmas and be on track to complete the project in full by December 2024”, says Mr Nutulapati.

“If we carry out the work under stop/go only, the expected project completion date extends out six months to June 2025.

“We will also take the opportunity to do other works in the gorge during the road closures including repairing dropouts and building retaining walls. The retaining walls will achieve two lanes through the gorge and improve the resilience of the road.”

The sealing work is funded through Kānoa – Regional Economic Development and Investment Unit and is part of a programme of improvements to the highway.