Final 'little jobs' to finish gorge

Last updated 08:00 10/11/2012

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A layer of asphalt and a lick of paint are all that is needed to complete work on the Manawatu Gorge road.

Almost 15 months after the first in a series of slips the NZ Transport Agency announced yesterday afternoon contractors would finish work on the troubled section of State Highway 3 next week.

NZTA Palmerston North state highways manager David McGonigal said contractors would be laying down a second coat of seal on the newly rebuilt section of road and bridges in front of the former slip site.

Once the new road surface is in place, fresh road markings will be painted, marking the completion of the new section of road. The work is weather dependent, so will be carried out during the first decent window of dry weather next week.

"These roadworks might seem mundane, but they're the last coat of paint on what has been a long and demanding recovery effort.

‘The gorge has been fully open for some time, but there's been a range of niggly jobs that we needed to get done before we could pack up. This is the last of those jobs," he said.

The first in a series of slips closed SH3 on August 18 last year, the road was open for just three days over the next two months before a mammoth slip on October 18 left a 100m high scar on the hillside.

It was not until May that the road reopened for six weeks, albeit only in one direction during the day, until a swollen Manawatu River washed out a temporary road past the slip.

It was several weeks before traffic was allowed back into the gorge.

"Once the job's done, the contractors will be packing up their site office and having a well earned cuppa," Mr McGonigal said.

Minor delays for motorists were likely next week, and the site will be controlled by stop-go operations.

Motorists were asked to leave about 10 minutes up their sleeve.

Crews will also be installing permanent signs and edge marker posts in coming days, as well as carrying out general cleanup work before the Higgins site office, which has been in place for more than one year, is packed away.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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