Manawatu Gorge replacement route update 20 July

5 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJuly 13, 2018

The NZ Transport Agency will be undertaking a series of information sessions for the public, for both the Manawatu Gorge replacement route and the Ashhurst traffic mitigation project. These will be drop-in sessions, running for four hours each.

One session was held in Ashhurst last night, where NZTA discussed the proposed package of measures to mitigate Ashhurst traffic noise and safety issues, as well as providing an update on Manawatu Gorge replacement route. Two more sessions are scheduled, one today and one tomorrow.

• Friday July 20, 4pm to 8pm Ashhurst Village Valley Hall

• Saturday, July 21, 10am to 2pm, Ashhurst School

There will also be four sessions to provide an update on the Manawatu Gorge replacement route only. 

• Wednesday, July 25, 4pm to 8pm, Woodville Supper Room

• Thursday, July 26, 4pm to 8pm, Palmerston North Convention Centre

• Tuesday, July 31, 4pm to 8pm, Dannevirke Sports Centre (Supper Room)

• Wednesday, August 1, 4pm to 8pm, Pahiatua Town Hall (Supper Room)

The Manawatu Gorge replacement route update will include information on the current preliminary design, what to expect during construction, a preliminary flyover animation, the project renaming and an opportunity for the community to provide feedback. NZTA encourages anyone to attend and interact with the project team members.

Attendees will also be able to have their say about proposed permanent changes to the speed limit on the Saddle Road. The proposal is a permanent change to 80km/h to ensure an ongoing safe roading environment. If you would like to have your say but can‘t attend any of the sessions, please email for more information.

Geotech investigations complete

NZTA‘s project team has completed geotechnical investigations along the proposed corridor of the replacement route.

A total of 15 bore holes (the deepest being 50 metres) yielded 530 metres of core samples that have now been sent to the lab for testing.

The ground core samples will provide further understanding of the area and key information for the project as NZTA refine their knowledge and continue the investigation of the proposed corridor.

Roadworks and mitigation measures

Wet weather is making maintenance of the Saddle Road difficult, with only minor pothole patching possible at present. NZTA is planning more extensive maintenance once the weather improves and will operate west-bound closures while this work is underway.

The Saddle Road upgrade project will continue this year with the road works at the summit. NZTA will also be completing various overlays to improve the strength of the road, which should reduce the need for maintenance works. Work will also continue on the extensive maintenance programme on the Pahiatua Track. 

Work is close to starting on the realignment near Woodville, which will improve the safety and efficiency of the intersections and rural roads around Woodville. There will be some delays as the two corner realignments at Woodlands Road are progressed, but NZTA say they will endeavour to keep any disruptions to a minimum.

Information on roadworks on the alternative routes, the Saddle Road and the Pahiatua Track, can be found on NZTA‘s regional Facebook page –

Manawatu Gorge update

The indefinite closure of the SH3 through the gorge remains in place.  The area around Kerry‘s Wall is experiencing continual movement, with the risk too high to allow the public past the site. This movement is expected to increase with the onset of wet weather.

NZTA will be clearing the drainage channels and culverts in the gorge, so vehicles will be visible entering and leaving the gorge at Ballance.