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Thursday, June 20, 2024
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Gorge road back up and running

After a long road to recovery, the ribbon to Tararua’s Marainanga Gorge Rd was cut on Thursday.

Tararua Mayor Tracey Collis, councillors, community members, iwi representatives, and staff from Tararua Alliance and the Tararua Cyclone Recovery programme were onsite to acknowledge the reopening.

The road has been shut off to the public since February 14, 2023, due to damage caused by Cyclone Gabrielle – including several slips and dropouts, and approximately 300m of the road being completely washed away into the Aohanga River.

Getting the road back up to scratch was no easy feat – with the replacement road being built 10m up from river level.

“The opportunity to work together with Iwi and Horizons Regional Council, alongside experienced local contractors is what has allowed the works to progress as rapidly as they have, and what has also given us the confidence to work in a relatively sensitive environment,” Tararua Alliance capital projects manager Andrew Desmond said.

Further down the track, more work has been scheduled to strengthen the remaining road’s formation and to address resilience issues.

“It’s a fragile site, and it’s crucial people keep that in mind when using the Gorge Road,” Desmond said.

“The bank below the remaining portion of road leading down to the river has scoured significantly, leaving a narrow passageway for about 50 meters. We need people to understand there are risks, and to take it easy on the new road.”

Collis is grateful for the patience of the local community and the work that has gone into repairing the damage.

“Today is a significant milestone in our recovery,” Collis said.

“Losing this road so dramatically during the cyclone has not been easy for our people in the surrounding area. It’s been a stressful time, and some residents have had to endure considerable additional travel to go about their daily lives and run their businesses.”

While using the road, motorists are urged to stick to the strict speed limit of 30kmph, avoid stopping while travelling through, and remember that there is still work to be done.

Meanwhile, campervans, large buses, or loaded vehicles have been asked to use the alternative route on River Rd to avoid any further damage to Marainanga Gorge Rd.

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