Gorge slip an op­por­tu­nity says Bridges

Kapiti Observer - - FRONT PAGE - MIRI SCHROETER

rier is in place, some right turns will be re­moved and some of the roads that con­nect to SH58 will be­come left turns only.

Some peo­ple would have lit­tle change to their ac­cess, Hunt said, while oth­ers might need to travel a few min­utes longer to reach their des­ti­na­tions.

In 2014, NZTA con­sulted with the com­mu­nity on a pack­age of safety im­prove­ments, and re­ceived feed­back on how it could im­prove the pro­posal.

‘‘Since the 2014 en­gage­ment, we have ad­dressed some safety con­cerns by re­align­ing curves at Hay­wards Hill,’’ Hunt said.

‘‘We have also taken on board the feed­back and ex­panded the pro­posed scope of im­prove­ments to achieve greater safety out­comes.’’

Com­mu­nity in­for­ma­tion days will be held at Pau­ata­hanui School on July 27 and 29. To reg­is­ter, see nzta.govt.nz

The clo­sure of the Manawatu Gorge has cre­ated an op­por­tu­nity to build a road that is much bet­ter, wider and safer, Trans­port Min­is­ter Simon Bridges says.

Bridges vis­ited the Ash­hurst and Woodville town­ships ei­ther side of the Manawatu Gorge on Wed­nes­day morn­ing.

The Manawatu Gorge has been closed since April 24 af­ter a large slip fell, cov­er­ing both lanes of State High­way 3.

On July 7, re­pair crews were pulled out of the gorge amid fears for their safety af­ter a large area of loose hill­side was iden­ti­fied. The gorge has been closed ever since, putting pres­sure on al­ter­na­tive routes the Sad­dle Rd and Pahiatua Track, and the towns on ei­ther side.

On Wed­nes­day, Bridges said the Govern­ment was back­ing a ‘‘sig­nif­i­cantly more re­silient route’’. If geotech­ni­cal data was able to show a re­duc­tion in the risk of an­other large slip in the gorge, the road could be fixed, but ‘‘I don’t see that as a likely sce­nario’’.

A new route was much more likely, he said.

The NZ Trans­port Agency has in­vited three or­gan­i­sa­tions to ten­der to in­ves­ti­gate long-term op­tions. Ten­ders close in midAu­gust.

The West­pac res­cue he­li­copter on State High­way 58 in De­cem­ber last year af­ter five peo­ple were hurt in a crash.

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