30 Jul 2017

Concerns raised about Labour's plans for Manawatu Gorge

8:55 pm on 30 July 2017

Locals either side of the Manawatu Gorge are not impressed with the Labour Party's proposal to build a replacement road.

An aerial view of the slip near Woodville.

An aerial view of the slip near Woodville. Photo: NZTA

Labour says if it wins the September election, it will fast-track the consenting and construction of a new route, likely to be north of the Gorge through the Te Apiti windfarm.

The road, which connects Manawatu and Hawke's Bay, is closed indefinitely because of a major slip.

A resident of Ashhurst to the west of the gorge, Roslyn Young, said she didn't want to get her hopes up over an election promise.

"If it will work, that's great, but when will it happen? We don't know.

"At the end of the day it's just going to be another one of those times where they talk about it and get people's reactions to it, but then they will only decide to do it when they're ready."

Ms Young said her neighbours' valuations had shown their house has dropped in value by $10,000 since the Manawatu Gorge road closed.

A Woodville resident, Ray Cook, said Labour's proposal would take too long to build.

He said many local businesses were getting less patronage, even for winter.

"A lot of the traffic turns off and goes into Top Grass Road and then Bridges Highway 3, farther up past Woodville."

Mr Cook said he would rather a tunnel be built to provide a direct route connecting Woodville to the other side of the Tararua Range.

Tararua District mayor Tracey Collins is also refusing to back Labour's plan saying the route wouldn't go through Woodville.