Manawatu Gorge road option needs future-proofing

2 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineOctober 13, 2017

Regardless of which option is chosen to replace the State Highway 3 route through the Manawatu Gorge, National Road Carriers say it must be future-proofed.

The gorge has been closed since April because of massive slips. The NZ Transport Authority has culled a long-list of options to four, and public submissions are being sought on those options.

David Aitken, CEO of National Road Carriers, says whichever preferred option is announced before Christmas, it must meet the needs of all road users.

“The easier the gradient, the less likely our members‘ big rigs will hold up other traffic,” he said.

“Ideally, we would like to see two lanes on all uphill sections, or at the very least, lots of overtaking lanes and passing bays.”

Aitken said the NRC would prefer to see a new, modern, engineered road, rather than an upgrade of the existing Saddle Road, which is one of the four options suggested by NZTA.

“A 21st century-engineered road will have gentler curves and be safer than whatever can be done to Saddle Road.”

NRC is looking for more detailed engineering information from NZTA on the options suggested and is seeking feedback from its members before making any final submissions on the gorge replacement road, however Aitken said the new road had to be open 24/7.

“The road will be a vital link between the east and west of the lower North Island. Whatever NZTA comes up with must not have the same disruption that everybody has had to put up with for so long when the gorge has been closed.”