Gorge stays firmly blocked
Another slip will delay the Manawatu Gorge’s reopening, as commuters are forced to use the Pahiatua Track and Saddle Rd for at least another week.
Bad weather has hampered cleanup efforts and forced a temporary halt to work on the site.
State Highway 3 through the gorge was closed after a large slip covered both lanes on April 24.
A smaller slip has been cleared, and it was hoped the road would re-open on Thursday, but the latest rock fall has put paid to that.
About 2000 cubic metres of debris thundered down the Tararua-range side of the gorge on Sunday night.
Contractors also discovered a large overhang of unstable material which was likely to come down with further rain within the next few days, highway manager Ross l’Anson said.
L’Anson didn’t yet have a new re-opening date for the gorge, but said: ‘‘The situation will be reassessed at the end of the week.’’
Meanwhile, businesses that rely on gorge traffic are doing it tough.
Horizons Regional Council chairman Bruce Gordon said he was disappointed that efforts to clear the slip had not been made sooner.