22 May 2017

Manawatu Gorge slip: 'All we are doing is putting a band-aid on it'

8:16 pm on 22 May 2017

The Manawatu Gorge could reopen soon after being closed by a large slip, but local businesses say they are haemorrhaging money and a permanent solution is needed.

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The scene of the slip earlier this month. Photo: NZTA

The Transport Agency said it was making good progress clearing the large slip from the road and hoped to open it for single lane traffic by the end of the week.

The road - which connects Palmerston North to the East Coast of the North Island - was closed by a large slip nearly a month ago, but a second slip earlier this month delayed contractors working to clear the debris

It was the third time in six years the road has been closed for an extended period because of slips.

The closure means motorists have to take the winding Saddle Road to get to Hawke's Bay, adding an hour to the trip.

Mike Hermanson, the owner of a local trucking business, said the closures were frustrating and expensive.

"It's costing us a lot of time, having to go over the Saddle Road, and it's costing quite a bit extra money in fuel costs, and it's putting more pressure on the drivers to keep up trip times."

Mr Hermanson said the road seemed to be closed every time there was a decent downpour, and there needed to be a permanent solution.

"As far as I can see, all that we are doing is putting a band-aid on it every time there is a slip. Basically what they do to clear the slip is they try and remove as much as they can from up top. I don't know what the long-term solution is, but certainly somebody should be looking for one. But realistically, it will just keep happening."