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Manawatu Gorge likely to be closed all day

Transit National Office
Media Release
25 August 2004

Manawatu Gorge likely to be closed all day

The Manawatu Gorge linking Woodville and Palmerston North on State Highway 3 is likely to remain closed for the rest of today, Wednesday 25 August.

The highway was closed around 7am this morning after a large slip at the western end of the gorge dumped some 2000 cubic metres of debris on the road.

Transit New Zealand area engineer Maurice Mildenhall said the slip was quite high up the cliff face and small rocks were still falling, making it difficult for contractors to clear the debris and assess the stability of site.

He said it was unlikely the route would re-open today.

“Transit and its contractors are working hard to get traffic moving through the gorge as soon as possible. But at the moment the situation is very fluid and it’s too soon to tell when it will be safe for the road to be opened.”

The slip is a new site further west than the slips that closed the gorge after major storms in February and was much less severe, Mr Mildenhall said.

“The slip is not too surprising given the extremely heavy rain that hit the Tararua region last week. This was on top of an extremely wet summer and a lot of rain this winter. Often slips come away after sustained periods of wet weather.”

ENDS

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