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Update – State Highway 3 likely to remain closed until at least Wednesday

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The NZ Transport Agency is advising motorists wanting to travel between Taranaki and the Waikato that State Highway 3, south of Mokau is likely to remain closed until at least Wednesday.

This follows a major slip blocking the road from Sunday 18 September, triggered by a large amount of rain over the weekend.

Major slip blocking the road south of Mokau

Major slip blocking the road south of Mokau

 “We appreciate that State Highway 3 is the main route between Taranaki and the Waikato, and we are working hard to get this section open again as soon as it is safe. We understand that it is frustrating and inconvenient to have this important route blocked, and we appreciate everyone’s patience,” Karen Boyt, Regional Performance Manager, NZ Transport Agency says.

“A large amount of material has come down, and our geotechnical engineers have advised us that there is further risk of instability and more slips, which is why it is still not safe to open the road yet. This morning we have arranged for a drone to examine the area, which will provide us with valuable information for our assessments. We will use a helicopter to sluice the cliff face, to help remove the loose material from the cliff,” Ms Boyt says.

“The make-up of these cliffs mean that they are prone to rock falls and slips, and we have previously put in place wire mesh over the cliff face, and concrete barriers at the bottom of the cliff to help prevent material falling on to the road. We have not had a major slip at this site since 2012,” Ms Boyt says.

Motorists are advised to use an alternative route via State Highway 1 or State Highway 4 via Whanganui, which will add approximately three and a half hours to the journey.

Other local road routes via Ohura and State Highway 43 are not suitable detours for State Highway 3 traffic. They are narrow, windy and unsealed roads not suitable for heavy vehicles or those unfamiliar with the roads, and are not capable of supporting larger volumes of traffic. State Highway 43 has also been subject to closures over the weekend due to weather-related slips.

The NZ Transport Agency's website - www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic(external link) -  will be updated with road status information, and we will have electronic message signs at key routes advising whether roads are open.

Transport Agency contractors are also on site at a slip at Tangarakau Gorge, State Highway 43. This section is currently open to one lane, under stop/go management, so motorists can expect short delays as this route is cleared. Motorists should continue to check the Transport Agency’s website and social media and the electronic message signs to see if the route is open.

 “As conditions can change rapidly, we advise people to check the latest road updates before they get on the road. This could mean delaying your journey,” Ms Boyt says.

Motorists can get real time information from:

From 6am to 7pm weekdays, updates will be available on:

The Transport Agency’s Winter Journeys website  www.nzta.govt.nz/winter-journeys(external link) brings together tips on winter driving and links to get updates on the latest weather and road conditions.

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