The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) says temporary road closures to remove a crashed milk tanker on State Highway 3 through the Awakino gorge are now expected to last for around 45 minutes, not up to two hours as advised earlier.
"The crane being used to remove the truck will be able to carry out it's work from the river side of the highway, so we will only need to close the road while the truck is loaded onto the transporter. This means closures will not be as long as first anticipated," said NZTA Highway Network Operations Manager, Karen Boyt.
Ms Boyt said the NZTA is still advising motorists to allow extra journey time today when travelling through the Awakino Gorge.
Single lane access has been maintained throughout this morning with minimal delays to traffic; however from early this afternoon, the road will be closed at intervals while a crane is used to remove the truck in three sections.
Each of the three removal efforts will close the road temporarily for around 45 minutes at a time. Traffic will be allowed through between each closure.
Ms Boyt, says that unfortunately the only alternative route is via SH4 to Wanganui. "This could add significantly to journey times depending on people's destinations - so motorists may instead prefer to plan their journey to avoid the closure period."
"We would like to thank motorists for their patience around this and we hope to reopen the highway fully by later tonight,” says Ms Boyt. “In the meantime, we would like to encourage people to plan their travel around these closures where possible.”
“The NZTA’s website is updated regularly and it includes details on state highway road or lane closures, significant state highway road works and where relevant, detour and alternative route information. This information is available at www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic(external link) or by calling the NZTA freephone 0800 4HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49).”
“This is also where motorists will find updated details on the opening and closing times for each of the three temporary road closures as these come to hand this afternoon."
For those choosing to use the alternative route, the details are:
Senior Communications Advisor
Engagement and Communications
Waikato/Bay of Plenty
NZ Transport Agency
DDI 64 07 958 7260
M 027 292 8076