20 May 2012

Manawatu Gorge slip finally cleared

7:58 am on 20 May 2012

The massive slip that has blocked the section of State Highway 3 through the Manawatu Gorge for the past nine months has been cleared.

The Transport Agency says 370,000 cubic metres of earth has been removed from the slip site.

Agency spokesperson David McGonigal says it's a huge milestone to have the road cleared and means the agency can now focus on on getting the road ready and safe for motorists to travel on.

He says teams are installing anchors into the face of the slip for netting that is to be erected on the slope and contractors are rebuilding two bridges that were destroyed.

The agency expects to open the section of State Highway 3 to one lane of traffic by the end of May.

It estimates the cost of clearing the slip, building new bridges and maintaining alternative routes will be up to $20 million.

The closure of the Gorge route is estimated to have cost the regional economy $62,000 a day.