Reprieve follows Gorge re-opening

18:49, Sep 05 2012

Motorists have been behaving themselves since the partial reopening of the Manawatu Gorge road, police say.

State Highway 3 through the gorge was partly opened last Wednesday after being closed for all but six weeks since August 18 last year.

The Saddle Rd became the main route between Woodville and Ashhurst, and the Pahiatua Track was also being used as an alternative.

There were four accidents on the Saddle Rd in two days at the beginning of last week, including a truck that slid off the road twice and a 4WD that flipped onto its roof.

But Constable Warwick Denby said road users had been well-behaved since the opening. ‘‘There have been no complaints.’’

While drivers were behaving, they had to remember to remain careful on the roads to ensure they were safe.
‘‘Fingers and toes crossed things will stay as planned,’’ he said.


Mr Denby, who lives in Ashhurst, said traffic noise had also quietened.

‘‘It is a bucket-load quieter. Before it opened up, there were logging trucks coming through at four in the morning.

‘‘Every time the gorge reopens, [the noise] stops immediately.’’

The NZ Transport Agency said two-thirds of the vehicles that used the Saddle Rd or Pahiatua Track no longer had to since the gorge had reopened.

The gorge is now open to traffic travelling from Woodville to Ashhurst 24 hours a day and to vehicles in the other direction from 6pm to 8am.

NZTA aims to have the gorge road fully open by the end of the month.

Manawatu Standard