The NZ Transport Agency advises State Highway 43 remains closed to all through traffic at Tunnel Hill, Aukopae, due to a slip.
When travelling north along SH43 to Taumarunui, motorists should follow the signposted detour along Mangaparo Road, Ohura Road and Okahukura Saddle Road onto State Highway 4 to Taumarunui. Those travelling south should turn off SH4 onto Okahukura Saddle Road, then Ohura Road and Mangaparo Road onto SH43. This detour adds at least 40 minutes to the journey between Taumarunui and Stratford.
Transport System Manager Mark Owen says the slip first occurred on 14 September and subsequent deterioration caused by mass land movement, possibly due to land saturation.
“We are working hard to get the road reinstated as quickly as possible but due to the size and nature of the slip we expect the road to remain closed for several weeks.
“We want to assure people the road is only closed to through traffic at Aukopae, so popular Forgotten World Highway destinations, such as Whangamomona, are still accessible. These can be accessed as normal if travelling from Stratford or via the detour route if travelling west. Businesses located north of the road closure can be accessed from Taumarunui,” says Mr Owen.
People are also reminded not to attempt to use the closed section of road. Geotechnical engineers have assessed the area and found it to be very unstable. Attempting to drive across the drop out area is extremely dangerous as the road could slip away further.
The Transport Agency thanks motorists for their patience and encourages people to plan ahead and allow more time for their journeys, especially over the long weekend.
Plan ahead for a safe, enjoyable journey this summer. Keep up to date with: