Contractors working around the clock to fix new hole in Manawatu Gorge road

Murray Wilson/Stuff

Workers continue repairs on the second slip in the Manawatu Gorge.

Work begins at the crack of dawn for road workers playing catch-up in the Manawau Gorge.

Making the most of daylight is a must as Higgins contractors try to clear a newly-created hole in the road, which Stuff saw first-hand during a guided trip through the clean up site on Friday.

The sunken road, just below a large slip site, is the latest in a cascade of events that has plagued the Gorge in the past month.

Higgins contractors work on a fallen section of road at the Manawatu Gorge.
Murray Wilson/ Fairfax NZ.

Higgins contractors work on a fallen section of road at the Manawatu Gorge.

State Highway 3 through the Gorge is the main link between Manawatu and the eastern regions of the North Island. It was closed after a large slip covered both lanes on April 24. 

READ MORE:
Gouge in gorge road delays reopening 
* Another slip at the Manawatu Gorge delays reopening
Work in the Manawatu Gorge to clear slip continues
A look inside the closed Manawatu Gorge
Work finally begins on large Manawatu Gorge slip
Manawatu Gorge closed overnight following slip

A smaller slip also fell on the same day and then more rocks came crumbling down on May 14. 

The left-hand lane of a section of the Manawatu Gorge road is being repaired after it collapsed in late April.
MURRAY WILSON/FAIRFAX NZ

The left-hand lane of a section of the Manawatu Gorge road is being repaired after it collapsed in late April.

About a week later, when the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) was hoping to open one lane to the gorge, the road collapsed and with it sunk the hope of reopening. 

On Friday, NZTA highway manager Ross I'Anson said he could not promise when the road would reopen again but contractors were working as fast as possible. 

Road workers have been pulled from the Kapiti expressway project, working from dusk till dawn, 7 days a-week in the hopes of getting vehicles moving through the gorge again, I'Anson said. 

It is unclear when the Manawatu Gorge is going to reopen after a slip in the road slowed down repairs.
MURRAY WILSON/FAIRFAX NZ

It is unclear when the Manawatu Gorge is going to reopen after a slip in the road slowed down repairs.

The scale of work that has been completed in the past four weeks is hard to imagine without standing next to one of the slips gazing up at the bare rock face once covered by greenery. 

Ad Feedback

One slip, on the Ballance bridge end of the Gorge, had 10,000 cubic metres of debris drop. In total about 3600cum fell at the Ashhurst end slip.

Repairs had cost about $600,000 so far, I'Anson said.

He understood how frustrating it was for people wanting to use the quicker route rather than the alternative routes at Saddle Rd and the Pahiatua Track.

But on a positive note, the closure meant remedial work could be completed to strengthen other parts of the road, he said. 

Guard rails that were once flattened by vehicles brushing against them have been replaced and bridge and rock face maintenance was undertaken. 

At the slip sites, trees that sat at the top of the cliff have been removed to lighten the load on the rockface. 

Although netting catches small slips, it doesn't stand a chance with large slips, such as the two recent ones. 

"It slows it all down. It does help but it doesn't stop it," I'Anson said. 

If a slip occurred it would bulge out slower than normal, which would help safeguard passing vehicles, he said. 

Long term solutions would be explored once the recent damage to the Gorge had been dealt with, I'Anson said. 

Ideas raised in the past include building a bridge through the middle of the Gorge or creating a tunnel. 

Horizons Regional Council chairman Bruce Gordon recently suggested moving the road out from the hillside in slip-prone areas to allow for material to fall into a ditch rather than on the road. 

It was a cost-effective solution for a highway that was known to sit between unstable landscape, Gordon said. 

I'Anson said Gordon's suggestion was already used on one point at the Ashhurst end of the Gorge. 

However, the Gorge was prone to slips at any point but some sections could not be pushed out further, I'Anson said. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 - Stuff

Comments

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

The return of the Wurlitzer video

The organ has all the sound effects for a silent movie – including sirens, a car horn, train whistle and electric doorbell.

An intricate machine that wowed youth in the 1920s and 30s will again rise from the stage.

Dominion Rd demo job stalls

Albert-Eden Local Board member Graeme Easte says demolition of the Dominion Rd flyover could have a big economic benefit.

Demolition of the Dominion Rd flyover has been put on hold.

Burnt face after gas leak

A quick-thinking man threw a burning heater outside, but suffered injuries in the process.

Quick-thinking man throws burning heater outside, but suffers injuries in the process.

5 of the best winter soups

The ginger in this chicken udon soup brings it to life.

What better way to warm up your day than with a hearty soup?

Wellington

Win: Tickets to second Lions test

Watch the All Blacks take on the Lions in the second test in Wellington.

The July 1 game in Wellington is sold out - but we can still get you there.

Yacht found, crew safe

Roger Foley, left, confirmed Havana Coffee's Geoff Marsland, right, was on the yacht.

Air Force spots Wellingtonians missing "miles from land in the open ocean".

Widow brings accused to tears video

In 2010, Calavrias became an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year honours, for services to ...

Young man weeps at sentencing for mowing down cycling Wellington businessman while doing 100kmh.

Marriage-scam victim lost $35k

Li Jun Xue, left, committed fraud after taking $35,000 from a Wellington man and saying it was a downpayment as a ...

He fell in love with "Jessica", his Singaporean bride, but the honey-trap woman was Malaysian and already married.

Canterbury

Communal living in the red zone?

Ecological economist Marjan van den Belt says the red zone could house the world's biggest "eco village".

The "world's largest" eco village could be established in Christchurch's residential red zone, academic says.

SI train comeback?

Timaru Mayor Damon Odey is keen to see a Southern passenger rail service return.

Christchurch to Invercargill passenger train service is a step closer to making a comeback.

'We haven't located him yet'

Christchurch builder Michael McGrath, 49, has been missing for more than a month.

Where is Michael McGrath? A "major" investigation, including a dump search, continues.

$35k marriage scam

Li Jun Xue, left, committed fraud after taking $35,000 from a Wellington man and saying it was a downpayment as a ...

He fell in love with "Jessica", but the "Singaporean" honey-trap was married.

Waikato

Teen's possum fur phone cover

Maggie Gibson with her possum fur phone cover.

Maggie Gibson has made the most Kiwi smartphone accessory from a dead possum.

Teen dies at work

A man who died after a work place accident at Torpedo7 on Wednesday has been named (file).

Teenager Jacob Woods was killed while working at a Hamilton distribution centre.

Harassed man now in peace

While Niraj Bahadur still intends to build his brick fence, he says there are no longer roaming kids in the street and ...

Niraj Bahadur is no longer being harassed after his community stepped-up.

One night out helping

Jason Huang volunteers with Hamilton's Zeal street youth workers helping keep kids out of trouble.

Volunteer Jason Huang sees the good and bad of life on Hamilton's streets.

Taranaki

What the Hoyle?

15062017: Word on the Street. Short Lane and Hoyle Place.

Hoyle Place wasn't always Hoyle Place.

A new way forward

New Plymouth District Council  and iwi leadership have created Te Huinga Taumatua Committee.

It's a fresh body, with fresh members looking for a fresh start.

A brief comment on Mt Messenger

Mt Messenger Tunnel on SH3

OPINION: Jim Tucker wanted to know more about the Mt Messenger bypass. The official briefing may not have helped.

By-election coming for Inglewood

Phil Rowe has resigned from the Inglewood Community Board and a by-election will be held in September.

Phil Rowe has resigned from Inglewood Community Board after a decade of service.

Manawatu

Tunnel a training exercise

Phil Hooper, left, Jim Richards and Bridgette Murphy have started installing a living tunnel for the Esplanade Scenic ...

Esplanade Scenic Railway passengers have a new attraction to enjoy

Food or the doctor?

A visit to your doctor will cost the same whether you have a community services card or not.

Community services cards are pointless, critics say, as health costs cripple.

Fireball 'like a bomb'

Flames leaped 10m into the air as the blaze engulfed the Ngamoko Rd house, near the town of Norsewood.

There was a huge boom as flames from a house reached a nearby shed, exploding in a fireball.

Ram raid footage released video

The offenders stole cash from the store.

The vehicle smashed into the store's roller door, and four people ran in through the gap.

Nelson

Meet the Kiwi helping Oracle

Boat Build Manager Tim Smyth with the saw blade used by the giant CNC Milling machine  used on America's Cup yacht Oracle.

If Oracle turn it round to beat Team NZ, it will be thanks in part to a boat builder from Nelson.

Rate rise confirmed

Rate rises

Rates are set to rise nearly three per cent as part of the NCC's annual plan.

Poverty in the classroom

Stoke School principal Pete Mitchener.

Stoke School principal says children from low-income families face an uphill battle.

Nelson songbird flies home again

Nelson-born songwriter Sharon O'Neill is returning home for two shows at the Boathouse in September.

One of Nelson's most successful musical exports is coming home for two September shows.

Marlborough

Diarrhoea outbreak closes pool

Marlborough Lines Stadium 2000 will be closed for several days while it is tested for the parasite.

Seven swimmers have fallen ill after using a public pool in Blenheim.

Beached on an atoll

Roger Foley, left, confirmed Havana Coffee's Geoff Marsland, right, was on the yacht.

The crew aboard a badly damaged yacht in the Pacific Ocean have been found alive and well.

Hunting the 'Kiwi way'

The Gunshack Blenheim owner Peter Watson says hunters are being left with fewer places to shoot because of poachers.

Poachers, and even some young hunters, have "no respect for anyone or anything, not even the animals they're hunting".

Once bitten, not shy

The Employment Relations Authority has penalised KRSVP Limited $25,000 for failing to keep proper employment records.

Marlborough vineyard contractor stung for the same employment breach twice in two years.

South Canterbury

Prince rescued from steep cliff

Prince was cold, wet and hungry, but very vocal, as rescuers approached the area where he was stuck on Thursday.

Firefighters walk 22kms in cold, wet conditions to rescue dog from cliff near Fairlie.

$50k for rail case

Timaru Mayor Damon Odey is keen to see a Southern passenger rail service return.

Govt announces $50k to investigate return of Southern passenger rail service.

Drugs, guns 'don't mix'

A Pareora man has been given a warning after a cannabis bong and unsecured shotgun were found in his car as he left a ...

Police warn of dangers of mixing drugs, alcohol and guns after callout to bonfire

$500,000 aviary to protect stilts

A new breeding aviary for black stilt (kaki) will be built near Twizel.

A new $500,000 breeding aviary for the world's rarest wading bird will be built near Twizel.

Southland

Young performers face the music

Monique Clementson (Deloris), Annie Sherborne, and Rachael Scott (Sister Mary Patrick) at rehearsals for the ...

Young performers are gaining exposure and touring the country for Sister Act the musical.

Arrested after threats

08072016 Newsphoto. SIMON MAUDE / FAIRFAX NZ. Generic, stock, NZ Police, police car, The po po, police. 08-N-policeC

A 54-year-old man was arrested after threatening Work and Income staff.

Father 'evil', grief-stricken mum says

Police staff at the Riverton home where three-month-old Honour Ashworth was injured.

Grieving Southland mother says her soul was "ripped to pieces" when she found out her partner caused her infant son's death.

Green Party takes off

Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand Invercargill candidate Rochelle Surendran speaks at a Green Party Launch in Invercargill.

Green Party co-leader comments on Clutha-Southland MP resignation during Invercargill visit.

Ad Feedback