Boulder breakers clean up site

Gorge detonation goes to plan

MATHEW GROCOTT
Last updated 06:31 01/11/2012
Gorge slip
MURRAY WILSON/Fairfax NZ

Rock and roll: Higgins' Mark Martin and Larry Green examine the effects of rock-blasting.

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The monster slip that disrupted travel between Manawatu and Tararua for more than a year has probably frustrated drivers for the final time.

State Highway 3 through the Manawatu Gorge was closed for seven hours yesterday while contractors cleared a worrying section of rock.

With fears the material could be brought down in heavy rain, a crew from Geovert used a series of 10 explosive charges to remove it.

Higgins project manager Mark Martin said it was likely this was the last time the road would be closed in response to a chain of slips which started last August.

Mr Martin said the detonation went as planned and was not as exciting as it might have sounded.

‘‘It was never meant to be exciting. Everything went to plan.’’

Workers from Geovert scaled the hillside yesterday morning to place a series of 10 explosives around the rocks; they were detonated about 12.30pm.

The rocks were cleared from the site of a slip about 500 metres east of the original slips that fell last August, followed by the largest slip to  close a state highway two months later.

At that original slip site, work is nearing completion. The finishing touches are being put on the longdhest protective net of its kind to be installed on a rock face in Australasia.

 

Mr Martin said work next week should give motorists more room.

The road surface beneath the slip face still needed some work and this would take place later in the year when the weather was warmer.


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- Manawatu Standard

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