Waka Kotahi improving safety and resilience of the Forgotten World Highway


The iconic Forgotten World Highway (State Highway 43) has been getting a well-deserved upgrade recently with a number of works to improve safety and resilience completed and underway.

Waka Kotahi Director of Regional Relationships Linda Stewart says in addition to sealing the Tangarakau Gorge and other improvement projects funded through Kanoa,– Regional Economic Development and Investment unit,  crews have been  working to remedy resilience issues on the highway this summer construction season.

“Due to its topography and heavy rainfall, the area is prone to slips and we know that the traffic impacts of these events are inconvenient for the local community and visitors.

“We have a strong focus on improving the reliability of this route and will be working hard to maintain the highway and address current issues as quickly as possible,” she says.

Works completed this season include construction of a new 40m long concrete culvert at Tahora Saddle, enabling the road to be reinstated to two lanes.

This involved removing and subsequently reinstating 3,000 cubic metres of earth to replace the existing culvert with a new 1350mm wide culvert, located 8m below the road surface with the culvert replaced and the ground material reinstated.

The new culvert has been designed to ensure aquatic life can safely pass through the structure.

Crews will shortly commence work to reinstate four retaining walls along SH43 at Strathmore, Pohokura and Whangamomona saddles and at Tunnel Hill east of Taumarunu.

If weather permits, final sealing of the first 2km section of highway through the Tanagakau Gorge is scheduled to be undertaken on Thursday and Friday this week. This will complete stage one of the project.

The sealing work will be done under the existing traffic management – vehicles will continue to be let through on the hour but there may be additional delays at times.

Work to seal the remaining 10km section of highway is scheduled to get underway next summer.