Meeting hears gorge options
The people of Woodville have demanded cost and timing details of the 13 alternative routes to the Manawatu¯ Gorge.
About 300 people gathered at a meeting in the town on Tuesday to discuss the options, revealed by the NZ Transport Agency.
The gorge has been closed since April, after extensive rockfall blocked the road, and in July the transport agency announced the road will be closed indefinitely.
Options include building a viaduct through the gorge and a partial tunnel.
The options range from 6 kilometres to 19km in length.
The closure of State Highway 3 through the gorge has hit Woodville particularly hard as the town on the eastern side of the ranges relies on traffic flowing between Manawatu¯ and Hawke’s Bay for retail spending.
The public meeting at the Woodville Sports Stadium followed a heated meeting in Palmerston North on Monday evening.
People at the Woodville meeting were free to fire questions at regional transport systems manager Ross I’Anson.
Dean Fitzgerald, who was at the meeting, said he was concerned about some route options going through a gorge that was prone to more slips.
In September, the transport agency predicted some slips could be 170 times larger than the two slips that closed the gorge in April. The agency is aiming to have the new route finished within four years.
Another concern was time and costs of each option were not yet available, but I’Anson said the options would be narrowed down and costings would be estimated by the middle of this month.
Tararua District mayor Tracey Collis said it was great news that each alternative route passed through Woodville. ‘‘It just takes that added stress off businesses.’’
Woodville residents attended a meeting to find out about the 13 alternative options to the Manawatu¯ Gorge.