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Meanwhile, in Tararua Country....


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« Reply #50 on: October 08, 2011, 02:43:07 pm »


Gorge's repair costs hit $1m

MP asks: are there other options?

By JIMMY ELLINGHAM - Manawatu Standard | 12 NOON - Friday, 07 October 2011

THE LARGE SLIP blocking State Highway 3 through the Manawatu Gorge will cost more than $1 million to clear, leading Palmerston North MP Iain Lees-Galloway to question the value of the spend.

Since part of the Tararua Range hillside fell on to the road on August 18, the gorge has been closed to traffic for all but three days. This week the New Zealand Transport Agency announced it could be closed for two more months and yesterday it confirmed the budget for the cleanup was $1.3m "so far".

Original estimates a month ago were that between $500,000 and $1m would be spent.

This money would come from the agency's national emergency works fund, regional state highways manager David McGonigal said.

Added to that is an estimated $62,000 a day the road closure has cost the region in lost business and increased transport costs, according to a Vision Manawatu analysis.

Chief executive Elaine Reilly said that was a conservative estimate but would work out to about $2.8m in total.

The present closure is threatening to overtake the 70 days the route was closed in 2004.

Mr Lees-Galloway said there was a need to start thinking about "gold plate options" such as tunnels, with so much money being poured in to try to reopen the route.

"When we're talking about the expenses of a more permanent solution, part of the discussion should be about what the costs are to try to maintain the gorge road."

The route was considered "strategically important" by transport authorities, but was not classed as a road of national significance, with all the funding that came with that title.

That was not good enough for Mr Lees-Galloway.

"That to me is the fundamental problem with the roads of national significance policy. It's policy based on traffic rather than the economic value of that traffic."

A spokesman for Transport Minister Steven Joyce confirmed the road did not carry enough traffic to be nationally significant — with about 6800 vehicles making the trip between Manawatu and Hawke's Bay in any given 24-hours.

With vehicles diverted over the Saddle Road and Pahiatua Track, fewer motorists have been calling in to Woodville businesses, which is affecting their turnover. Several this week called on the transport agency to open lines of communication with them.

A worker at the town's Caltex petrol station said this week rumours were circulating because the agency wasn't providing enough information.

But Mr McGonigal hit back at those claims, saying the agency regularly updated its website and the news media.

Motorists choosing to ignore the suggested bypass route could also be to blame for traffic missing the town.

"The Saddle Road detour leads motorists to Woodville, but motorists have been rat-running on local routes that are not intended as detour routes, and subsequently bypassing Woodville, affecting local businesses," Mr McGonigal said.

"We can't stop motorists from using these other routes, but we're doing the best we can to encourage people to go through Woodville."


http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/5748463/Gorges-repair-costs-hit-1m
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« Reply #51 on: October 08, 2011, 02:43:18 pm »


Tui Brewery in hotel stoush

By MATT STEWART - The Dominion Post | 5:00AM - Saturday, 08 October 2011

OPPORTUNITY: Tui Beer marketing manager Nick Rogers outside the Tui Brewery in Mangatainoka. — ROBERT KITCHIN/Fairfax NZ.
OPPORTUNITY: Tui Beer marketing manager Nick Rogers outside
the Tui Brewery in Mangatainoka. — ROBERT KITCHIN/Fairfax NZ.


A DAVID & GOLIATH BATTLE is brewing between Mangatainoka's Tui HQ and a nearby pub.

The DB-owned brewery in north Wairarapa is a core part of Tui's image, with its well-known tower often featuring in the brand's advertising.

It used to attract about 7000 visitors a year, but since a function and tourism centre opened in 2007, that figure has risen to 50,000.

Now it has applied for a tavern licence and Dave Wolland, owner of the 123-year-old Dudley Arms Tavern just a kilometre down State Highway 2 in Pahiatua, has objected, accusing the brewery of going back on its opening promise to not go into direct opposition with cafes and bars in nearby towns.

Two other neighbours have also objected.

Last year Mr Wolland also objected to a licence renewal for the centre.

He said it promoted drinking to children who had visited the nearby Pukaha wildlife sanctuary and that its "market saturation" approach to competing with smaller venues was "morally wrong".

He had seen people urinating, drinking on the street, and revellers who were so drunk they "crawled home holding a barbed wire fence".

"If that was us in the pubs, we'd get hammered," Mr Wolland said.

"The intoxication is great — there's rules for some and not for others."

Tui commercial manager Nick Rogers said Mr Wolland's claims were ridiculous.

"Fifty thousand people a year don't come to Mangatainoka to go to the Dudley Arms."

"It's such a fantastic business opportunity for them — a lot of publicans would relish being that close to a brewery which brings in 50,000 people a year."

He said the brewery had no desire to be a pub and, apart from private functions, weddings and other bigger events, was closed by late afternoon most days. It had applied for a tavern licence at the recommendation of the Liquor Licensing Authority.

Tui's application and the objections are before the Tararua District Licensing Agency and a decision is pending.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/5751960/Tui-Brewery-in-hotel-stoush
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« Reply #52 on: October 19, 2011, 02:19:53 pm »


Fresh slip smashes through Manawatu Gorge

The Dominion Post | 5:41PM - Tuesday, 18 October 2011

NOT AGAIN: A fresh slip has blocked the Manawatu Gorge after torrential rain on October 17. — Photo: NZTA.
NOT AGAIN: A fresh slip has blocked the Manawatu Gorge after torrential rain on October 17.
 — Photo: NZTA.


A FRESH SLIP has ripped across the Manawatu Gorge, blocking an area just cleared after several weeks work.

The New Zealand Transport Agency said the slip has further blocked State Highway 3, in the same location as contractors had been working.

Torrential rainfall over the weekend further destabilised the cleared site and approximately 20,000 cubic metres of new material came down last night, said NZTA regional state highways manager David McGonigal.

The slip blocked the section of road that had been finally cleared on Friday after weeks of work due to previous slips.


NOT AGAIN: A fresh slip has blocked the Manawatu Gorge after torrential rain on October 17. — Photo: NZTA.
NOT AGAIN: A fresh slip has blocked the Manawatu Gorge after torrential rain on October 17.
 — Photo: NZTA.


Mr McGonigal said NZTA contractors would begin clearing the new debris as soon as it was safe to do so, and further material was expected to come down, particularly following rainfall.

It was too early to say when the road would be reopened and assessments could not be done until the conditions were safe.

"We appreciate that people are frustrated about the length of this closure, and so are we. We know how important this road is for local communities and for the region's economy, and we are working hard to get it re-opened as soon as possible."

"But before we can allow traffic to use this route we must ensure that the site is stable and the road is safe to travel. The scale of this latest slip shows that isn't yet the case."

"This is one of the longest and most frustrating closures on record — we know how disruptive it has been for motorists and local communities, and we thank them again for their patience."


NOT AGAIN: A fresh slip has blocked the Manawatu Gorge after torrential rain on October 17. — Photo: NZTA.
NOT AGAIN: A fresh slip has blocked the Manawatu Gorge after torrential rain on October 17.
 — Photo: NZTA.


Detours are in place which the NZTA estimates adds about 15-20 minutes to a journey.

The gorge has been closed for several months, threatening the viability of businesses reliant on through-traffic.

The Manawatu Gorge's four-month closure may be the "final blow" for businesses that rely on its traffic, the region's economic development agency says. The longest previous closure was  for 70 days in 2004.

The NZTA took over control of detours through the Saddle Road and Pahiatua Track earlier this month after receiving geological assessments which indicated the closure was likely to continue for up to two months more.

"Closures of this extent only happen around once in a decade, but when they do happen they cause real disruption. Our priority is twofold: getting the highway reopened as soon as it's safe to do so, and keeping the alternative routes well maintained and safe in the meantime."

The NZTA advises motorists that the detour routes take on average 15-20 minutes longer than SH3 through the gorge.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/5808968/Fresh-slip-smashes-through-Manawatu-Gorge
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« Reply #53 on: October 28, 2011, 12:28:24 am »


Shut gorge spurs parents' fears

By JESSICA SUTTON - Manawatu Standard | 12 NOON - Tuesday, 25 October 2011

NO GO ZONE: Standing at the roading detour are the Vink family of Woodville, from left, Helen, Eva, 5, Noah, 9, and Daan. — WARWICK SMITH/Fairfax NZ.
NO GO ZONE: Standing at the roading detour are the Vink family of Woodville,
from left, Helen, Eva, 5, Noah, 9, and Daan. — WARWICK SMITH/Fairfax NZ.


THE CLOSURE  of the Manawatu Gorge road has cost a Woodville couple time and money, and left them fearful for their children's health.

Helen and Daan Vink have forked out an extra $60 a week on petrol, and have had to drive for an hour longer every day to get to work in Palmerston North — and home — since the road was closed in August after a massive slip.

Motorists are having to use either the Saddle Road or Pahiatua Track as alternatives.

But the couple's biggest concern is for their two children, Noah and Eva, who both suffer from a serious heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This is a disease in which, at any time, at any age, a portion of a person's myocardium (the muscle of the heart) thickens. It is the leading cause of sudden cardiac death.

Both children attend Kumeroa/Hopelands School, near Woodville, but since the gorge shut Mrs Vink has been worried about whether or not she would make it in time, should something happen to her children.

"I'd dread to think whether I'd get to their school in time, or if an ambulance could get there and whether there would be enough time to get back to the hospital. Like any parent I worry for the safety of my kids and knowing it takes a lot longer to get back to them is nerve-racking."

Mrs Vink said travelling the roads each day to and from the city were frustrating.

"They're not safe roads and we're both travelling these roads every day."

I'm not a nervous driver, but trying to squeeze between trucks or school buses on some of the narrow bends sometimes makes me suck in my breath and think, ‘wow that was a close call’. "

She said cleanup in the gorge was "just a Band-Aid".

"It's going to happen again. If this was in Auckland, maybe things would be done a lot faster but being in a provincial area, you know they just think, ‘Oh you'll be right’."

"It's exceptionally frustrating. We both work fulltime but it costs money and it's not necessarily money we have. It's tough."

If the gorge was to close indefinitely, the Vinks would consider moving.

"We would have to rethink schools and our lives, but for us to leave Woodville, it would be financially challenging with a mortgage and all. We moved to Woodville for the lifestyle, but this isn't what we wanted."

New Zealand Transport Agency expects to have the gorge reopened by Christmas, but currently the area is unsafe for workers to continue the cleanup after another slip on October 17.

"We know how important this road is for local communities and for the region's economy, and we know people want to see this slip cleared as soon as possible," spokesman Andy Knackstedt said.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/5845956/Shut-gorge-spurs-parents-fears
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« Reply #54 on: October 28, 2011, 12:28:56 am »


Manawatu Gorge slip too risky to clear

By MICHAEL FORBES - The Dominion Post | 4:51PM - Thursday, 27 October 2011

EARTH-MOVING MACHINES  in the blocked Manawatu Gorge have been idle for the past 10 days and it is not known when they will re-start.

The New Zealand Transport Agency says concerns over the stability of the hillside have prevented heavy machinery from clearing debris since torrential rain brought a further 20,000 cubic metres down on top of State Highway 3 on October 17.

It was the latest in a series of slips that have kept the gorge closed for all but three days since August 18.

The agency does not know when the gorge will re-open but estimates it could be shut well into December, which would surpass its longest-ever closure of 70 days in 2004.

State Highways Manager David McGonigal said allowing work crews to operate below an unstable slip face was just too risky.

This decision to pull the workers out was made after close consultation with engineers, geologists and geotechnical engineers, Mr McGonigal said.

In the interim, NZTA would concentrate on maintaining alternate routes, Saddle Road and the Pahiatua Track, he said.

"We know how important this route is to the local economy. We are itching to get the slip cleared as soon as possible so people's lives can return to normal, but we cannot put people's lives at risk."

"We know this isn't what people want to hear and we're frustrated too, but given the latest massive slip on 17 October, the goalposts have shifted again and we've had to adjust our plans."

Mr McGonigal said it was likely further slips would occur, especially during heavy rainfall or strong earthquake shaking.

"Some of these risks may still be significant, and the safety of workers is our top priority right now."

To re-open the road, the agency will need to stabilise the hillside, clear the slip material from the road, check the bridge structures and carry out remedial work, he said. The project team are looking at way to achieve this.

"Every option we're looking at has its own risks in regards to safety, effectiveness and time, and these all need to be carefully assessed before we go in all guns blazing."

The agency expects to announce its final "plan of attack" in the next two to three weeks.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/5864494/Manawatu-Gorge-slip-too-risky-to-clear
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« Reply #55 on: November 04, 2011, 10:26:35 am »


Gorge walk still open despite slips on road

By VICKI WATERHOUSE - Manawatu Standard | 12 NOON - Wednesday, 02 November 2011

MANAWATU GORGE TRACK

SIGNS were to be installed this morning pointing people to the Manawatu Gorge walk, which remains open, despite slips in the area.

Concerns were raised this week about the falling number of people using the track since a slip closed the gorge road on August 18.

State Highway 3 through the gorge has been closed for all but three of the past 74 days after heavy rain caused a series of slips.

The Department of Conservation said it had fielded calls from people who thought the track was closed because orange road cones blocked off the road before the car park.

Many people were unaware they could drive around the cones and into the car park. The cones were in place to show people where the diversion was for motorists travelling to the other side of the gorge.

Large concrete barriers blocked off most of the gorge to stop motorists from reaching the slip, but they were set up just past the car parks on the Ashhurst and Woodville ends.

The signs were to be installed by this morning at the latest.


Trampers looking toward the Manawatu Gorge. — Photo: R J Lythgoe.
Trampers looking toward the Manawatu
Gorge. — Photo: R J Lythgoe.


Work on clearing the gorge slips was also set to resume today, after it was halted due to safety concerns about the unstable hillside.

No work has been done on clearing the debris since October 17.

New Zealand Transport Agency state highways manager David McGonigal said a period of settled weather had made the area safe for Higgins road crews to continue at the site. The slip site was "dynamic", so the agency had to deal with it in a safe and secure manner, he said.

The gorge road closure is the longest on record, with the previous record of 70 days set in 2004. It cost $5 million to clean up.

The closure has forced motorists to use alternative routes — either Saddle Road or the Pahiatua Track — to get between Manawatu and Tararua.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/5893646/Gorge-walk-still-open-despite-slips-on-road
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« Reply #56 on: November 04, 2011, 10:26:54 am »


This slip isn't going anywhere

Manawatu Gorge slip clean-up resumes

The Dominion Post | 5:00AM - Thursday, 03 November 2011

LANDSLIDE: Workers using heavy machinery attempt to clear the Manawatu Gorge yesterday. The road was blocked when 20,000 cubic metres of rubble was brought down by rain last month. — Photo: NZTA.
LANDSLIDE: Workers using heavy machinery attempt
to clear the Manawatu Gorge yesterday. The road was
blocked when 20,000 cubic metres of rubble was
brought down by rain last month. — Photo: NZTA.


SETTLED WEATHER has meant road crews have been able to return to work at the troubled Manawatu Gorge, which has been blocked by a slip since late October.

The unstable hillside had posed too much of a risk to crews since October 17, when 20,000 cubic metres of rubble was brought down by rain.

Workers using heavy machinery had stayed clear of the slip for their own safety but now that things had settled down weather-wise they could get stuck in, NZTA Palmerston North state highways manager David McGonigal said. "We're really keen to get the gorge open as soon as we can, and we'll be focusing on that as we plan how to tackle this dynamic slip site in a safe and secure manner."

Work behind the scenes remained "feverish" Mr McGonigal said, as NZTA worked with roading engineers, geotechnical engineers and geological specialists to confirm details of the work programme.

The NZTA will issue a further update at the end of this week.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/5898259/This-slip-isn-t-going-anywhere
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« Reply #57 on: November 04, 2011, 10:33:16 am »

i was at a b/day lunch last saturday and was told by someone who lives in Palmy that it could be well into 2012 before the gorge is reopened

there is over 40000 cubic metres of soil sitting in the river and whilst the easiest solution is to keep pushing more in they are afraid that it will dam the river and create bigger problems ...
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« Reply #58 on: November 04, 2011, 10:37:18 am »


Looking at the above photograph, one really has to wonder if trying to keep SH3 through the Manawatu Gorge open is worth it.

Time perhaps to consider abandoning the Manawatu Gorge to the railway line & nature, and build a new SH3 over the top?

Perhaps NZTA could consider a new SH3 roughly following the Saddle Road route, but on a much better and faster alignment, or else on the southern side of the Saddle Road closer to the gorge itself, with the new highway deviating from the current route on the western outskirts of Woodville in the vicinity of Woodlands Road so as to protect the interests of businesses in the town? Perhaps NZTA could also consider taking over the Pahiatua Track from Tararua District Council and upgrading that to a state highway route as well, designated SH3A?
 
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« Reply #59 on: November 10, 2011, 10:19:59 am »


Pahiatua Track slip cleared

By VICKI WATERHOUSE - Manawatu Standard | 11:22AM - Thursday, 10 November 2011

A SLIP on the Pahiatua Track which came down overnight has been cleared.

Contractors began working at the site at 7.30am this morning to clear the slip, which brought down rotten trees and mud.

The west-bound lane was blocked up to the centre line, but traffic was able to pass with one lane still open.

The Pahiatua Track, along with the Saddle Road, is one of two alternative routes around the Manawatu Gorge which was closed following a major slip on August 18.

The Pahiatua Track slip was about 4.5km from State Highway 57, near the lookout.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/5940618/Pahiatua-Track-slip-cleared
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« Reply #60 on: November 10, 2011, 11:36:44 am »


Gorge cleanup to cost $9m

By JESSICA SUTTON - Manawatu Standard | 12 NOON - Thursday, 10 November 2011

HUGE TASK: Associate Transport Minister Nathan Guy, foreground, and New Zealand Transport Agency state highways manager David McGonigal discuss the extent of the gorge slip. — WARWICK SMITH/Fairfax NZ.
HUGE TASK: Associate Transport Minister Nathan Guy,
foreground, and New Zealand Transport Agency state
highways manager David McGonigal discuss the extent
of the gorge slip. — WARWICK SMITH/Fairfax NZ.


THE MANAWATU GORGE will not reopen to traffic until next year, and the cost of work to clear the debris is expected to reach $9 million.

Since part of the Tararua Range hillside fell on to State Highway 3 on August 18, the gorge has been closed to traffic for all but three days.

On October 17, there was a second major slip and since then the gorge has been too unstable for workers to continue the cleanup.

Yesterday, Associate Transport Minister Nathan Guy was joined by Palmerston North Mayor Jono Naylor, Manawatu District Mayor Ian McKelvie, New Zealand Transport Agency staff, several National Party candidates and district council officials to discuss what is being done for the cleanup.

So far $3.5m has been spent on the cleanup and assessment of the hillside's stability, and that figure is expected to increase to up to $9m by the time the road is reopened.

The hillside has been too unstable for contractors to use heavy machinery to clear the rubble.


SHOCKED: Interested parties were invited to the Manawatu Gorge site yesterday to learn about the cleanup. — WARWICK SMITH/Fairfax NZ.
SHOCKED: Interested parties were invited to the Manawatu Gorge site yesterday to learn
about the cleanup. — WARWICK SMITH/Fairfax NZ.


BLOCKED: The Manawatu Gorge Road blocked by the slip. — WARWICK SMITH/Fairfax NZ.
BLOCKED: The Manawatu Gorge Road blocked by the slip. — WARWICK SMITH/Fairfax NZ.

NZTA state highways manager David McGonigal said it was unlikely the road would be open in time for Christmas.

"Until we actually start the process, it's difficult to predict [the timeline]."

"Until we get in there and get the machines up there, it's one of those things that we need to wait and see," he said.

The area of the slip on August 18 was 9,500 square metres, and after the second major slip on October 17 the area grew to 26,000 square metres.

A further 3,000 square metres of rockface has been identified as unstable and will need to be removed.

The Manawatu Standard also visited the site, which is secured by a padlocked gate to keep public out.

The magnitude of the slip is visible through the cracks in the road which lies underneath a vast amount of debris and mud.


BROKEN: A new image showing a crack in the road beneath the slip. — WARWICK SMITH/Fairfax NZ.
BROKEN: A new image showing a crack in the road beneath the slip. — WARWICK SMITH/Fairfax NZ.

SHOCKED: Interested parties were invited to the Manawatu Gorge site yesterday to learn about the cleanup. — WARWICK SMITH/Fairfax NZ.
SHOCKED: Interested parties were invited to the Manawatu Gorge site yesterday to learn
about the cleanup. — WARWICK SMITH/Fairfax NZ.


About 80,000 cubic metres of debris from the hillside has created a slide-like formation from the road down into the Manawatu River.

Mr McGonigal said the cleanup process was a challenging and complex exercise.

"We'll be coming in from the other side of the hillside and cutting a track through the bush, then the machines will come in."

"We will have a bulldozer acting as an anchor, and there will be a digger down doing the benching work and that digger will be attached to the bulldozer."

He said there had been workers on ropes assessing the slip in the past few weeks, but no machinery had been in as it was too dangerous.

Mr McGonigal said despite the slips in the gorge, it was still the most "economically reliable route".

Mr Guy, who is also the Otaki MP, said he was confident that NZTA's plan of attack was a "very good plan" and was being done as quickly and efficiently as possible.

"The difficulty in a situation like this is safety has to be paramount and there might be an opportunity down the track for contractors to work in the hours of darkness, but we would need to be assured that it was very, very safe."

Mr Guy also said an upgrade of the Saddle Road was needed, but this was to be funded through regional roading funds.


• To read a full copy of the NZTA's Manawatu Gorge Q&A document click here.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/5941688/Gorge-cleanup-to-cost-9m



National ‘twisted’ MP's gorge tunnel suggestion

By MATHEW GROCOTT - Manawatu Standard | 12 NOON - Thursday, 10 November 2011

PALMERSTON NORTH MP Iain Lees-Galloway has accused the National Party of being too busy attacking his ideas to come up with its own for the Manawatu Gorge.

At the Manawatu Standard debate on Tuesday night, National candidate Leonie Hapeta said Mr Lees-Galloway wanted to build "a billion-dollar tunnel" as an answer to closure of State Highway 3 due to slips.

On Tuesday, Mr Lees-Galloway said he had never made such a claim. He said yesterday what he had done was suggest several times options for a long-term solution for the gorge, and a tunnel had been one of these. He said he had always maintained a tunnel was likely to be too expensive and difficult to build.

He said he had been fulfilling his role as an MP "to propose a range of ideas, offer the pros and cons of each, to stimulate debate, to get people talking about what's possible". "If the National Party wants to twist my words for political debate, that's fine," he said. "You won't find a claim that I want to build a tunnel."

The Standard asked Mrs Hapeta when Mr Lees-Galloway had said he wanted to build a tunnel.

"I'd heard that from Wellington, that's what I'd heard that he'd said. It was said in Parliament in the final couple of days," she said. "Whether or not Iain actually said that I don't know."

Mrs Hapeta said she had not heard Mr Lees-Galloway himself say he wanted to build a tunnel, but she had heard National MP Tau Henare make the claim.

On October 05, Mr Lees-Galloway made a speech in Parliament about the gorge. According to Hansard records his reference to a tunnel was: "There is no easy solution to the Manawatu Gorge problem. Building a tunnel or a suspension bridge are both gold-plated options that have been considered before and passed over."

Mr Henare spoke next and was listing Labour MPs who might not return to Parliament after the election.

"Then there is Iain Lees-Galloway," he said. "He wants to put a tunnel under the Manawatu. He wants to put a tunnel there so there are no more slips. My goodness me. That is not going to get him in."

Mr Lees-Galloway wrote a blog on October 26 where he listed a tunnel as one of three options along with an upgrade to the alternative routes and a series of tunnels and/or bridges through the gorge.

On October 13 he talked to the Standard about the possibility of a viaduct around the slip site along the lines of the Otira Viaduct in Arthur's Pass, which was an "economically less important road".


http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/5941689/National-twisted-MPs-gorge-tunnel-suggestion
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« Reply #61 on: November 14, 2011, 12:05:38 pm »


Alternative Gorge routes become crash zones

By VICKI WATERHOUSE - Manawatu Standard | 12 NOON - Friday, 11 November 2011

LANDSLIDE: Workers using heavy machinery attempt to clear the Manawatu Gorge. The road was blocked when 20,000 cubic metres of rubble was brought down by rain last month. — Photo: NZTA.
LANDSLIDE: Workers using heavy machinery attempt to clear the Manawatu Gorge. The road was
blocked when 20,000 cubic metres of rubble was brought down by rain last month. — Photo: NZTA.


CRASHES on the alternative routes used by motorists while the Manawatu Gorge is closed have skyrocketed since the large slip blocked State Highway 3.

Police statistics showed 29 crashes had been reported on the Pahiatua Track and Saddle Road since August 18, when the first slip in the gorge forced its closure to traffic.

During the same period last year, there were only nine crashes — seven in the Manawatu Gorge and two on the Pahiatua Track.

The two alternative routes were now accommodating about 6000 vehicles a day, picking up much of the traffic that normally passed through the gorge.

The number of driving complaints reported to authorities had also risen sharply on the two alternative routes, but was consistent with the volume of traffic now using them, police said.

There had been 35 complaints to police, with issues including bad driver behaviour, congestion, breakdowns, road damage and stray livestock.

During the same period last year, there were only five complaints on Saddle Road and Pahiatua Track.

However, last year there were 42 complaints about driving in the gorge, where motorists routinely cut corners.

Highway Patrol manager Senior Sergeant Kris Burbery said the two alternative roads had become "pseudo state highways", so police were keeping a close eye on them.

They were also monitoring the small towns of Ashhurst and Woodville, which had seen changes in traffic volumes.

He was surprised at the high number of crashes.

"You're effectively taking all that traffic that's going through the state highway network and you're moving them over a couple of roads that are different and challenging to drive on, on a good day," Mr Burbery said.

Any frustration for drivers caused by the delays should have dispersed by now, he said.

"I would hope that people have, after such a long period of time, appreciated and understood that it's going to take a little bit longer in getting to their destination and adjusted accordingly," Mr Burbery said.

He warned the congestion was going to continue and would probably increase through Christmas and New Year, so people needed to slow down and be patient.

"It does require people to fully concentrate on their driving, travelling through there at the moment," he said.

The alternative routes were not designed for such a high volume of traffic, he said, so motorists needed to drive to the conditions and consider other road users.

CRASH STATISTICS

Crashes reported to police between August 18 and yesterday compared with the same period last year:

Pahiatua Track: 13 this year, 2 last year.

Saddle Road: 16 this year, none last year.

Crashes reported to police between August 18, 2010 and November 10, 2010: Manawatu Gorge: 7.

Crashes reported on all three roads between August 18 and yesterday: 29 this year, 9 last year.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/5949079/Alternative-Gorge-routes-become-crash-zones
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« Reply #62 on: November 16, 2011, 08:58:22 pm »


Gorge's instability means hillsides will keep slipping

By MICHAEL FORBES - The Dominion Post | 5:00AM - Wednesday, 16 November 2011

THE UNSTABLE NATURE of the Manawatu Gorge has come as no surprise to geological experts, who say the hills have been badly fractured by a set of circumstances rarely seen elsewhere in the world.

GNS geologist John Begg believes it is also likely that the landslides that have plagued the gorge for the past three months will always be a problem, unless significant and expensive stablising work is carried out.

About 26,000 square metres of debris has fallen on State Highway 3, which runs through the gorge, since August 18.

The road has been closed for all but three days since then and the New Zealand Transport Agency is unable to say when it will reopen.

Dr Begg said much of the greywacke-argillite rock that formed the gorge had been "ground up" by the tectonic shift that lifted the Tararua and Ruahine ranges out of the sea and created the gorge about a hundred million years ago.

The rock was still being fractured by the Wellington fault line, which pushed the hillside upward, and erosion caused by the Manawatu River, Dr Begg said.

Rivers that cut mountain ranges in half were particularly uncommon. "If it happens where there's loose material like this [in the Manawatu Gorge] ... then it just falls to pieces basically."

Alan Palmer, from the Institute of Natural Resources at Massey University, said adding to the problem was the harm done by roadworks since the state highway was carved into the hillside.

Many people thought the opposite side of the gorge, where the railway runs, was composed of different material because it appeared less prone to slips, Dr Palmer said.

"But the only difference is, they put the railway in and didn't keep hacking at it. With the road, we've had all these episodes of changing it and taking out the bends. If you keep taking away stuff from the toe [of the hillside] then it's always going to fail."

He suggested a lot more of the unstable hillside would have to come down than the 3000sqm identified by the Transport Agency. "There's an area still under bush cover, and I think that has a huge potential to come down."


http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/5972741/Gorges-instability-means-hillsides-will-keep-slipping



Intersection alterations ‘confusing’

By MATHEW GROCOTT - Manawatu Standard | 12 NOON - Wednesday, 16 November 2011

ASHHURST RESDIDENTS are angry about the surprise appearance of new detours and street signs erected to stop people "rat running" through the town during the Manawatu Gorge closure.

The New Zealand Transport Agency has altered two intersections in Ashhurst, which is located at the end of the Saddle Road — one of two alternative routes around the Gorge.

State Highway 3 through the Gorge has been closed for 88 days since the first of a series of slips on August 18, and about 6000 cars a day detoured on to either the Saddle Road or Pahiatua Track.

The changes give the right of way to traffic taking the detour route at intersections where Mulgrave Street met Cambridge Street, and where it met Salisbury Street.

Ashhurst resident Mike Ward was annoyed residents and businesses around the intersections had not been consulted.

Mr Ward said it was "irresponsible" to put a stop sign on a main street where drivers were used to having the right of way.

There should have been warning the changes were coming as they could cause crashes.

Ashhurst police confirmed there had been an influx of complaints and questions from residents about the changes yesterday.

A large number of motorists appeared unsure and confused about the new road layout when the Manawatu Standard visited the sites yesterday.

Palmerston North state highways manager David McGonigal said the changes were in response to concerns raised by Palmerston North City Council.

"We apologise if people are surprised by these changes, but it was important we acted as quickly as possible once concerns were raised, particularly in regards to safety."

Signs advising of the new road layout had been placed ahead of the intersections and the speed limit dropped temporarily to 30km/h.

Owner of the Commercial Tavern Klayton Blades said people had been confused by the intersection changes. They seemed to have reduced the amount of traffic trying to take short cuts down other roads in the town, he said.

"People will get used to it. It should work," Mr Blades said.

Mr McGonigal said the changes would make the detour route easier for motorists to follow and would prevent others from trying to find short cuts through back streets.

"We appreciate these changes may cause longer waiting times at intersections for local residents and we're appreciative of the Ashhurst community for bearing with us while the town's roads are used as a major traffic thoroughfare."

"It's important we make these changes for safety reasons because otherwise traffic will continue to take short cuts, posing a potential risk to local residents, including children from Ashhurst School."

The changes would be in place only while the Gorge was closed to traffic.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/5975253/Intersection-alterations-confusing
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« Reply #63 on: November 25, 2011, 02:48:13 pm »

Bandit rolls into Manawatu Gorge

NZ Transport Agency crews have finished cutting a path through dense bush to reach the top of the Manawatu gorge slip, and are clearing bush to establish a safe working platform for the earth moving equipment due to start benching (terracing) the slip early next week.

NZTA state highways manager David McGonigal says while the heavy wind and rain in the gorge this week had not increased the slip noticeably, it had made conditions at the top of the slip difficult.,

"We're very keen to get stuck in to clearing the slip, but we are also very mindful of the safety of our contractors. They are working in difficult conditions and it's essential that we establish a safe working platform before our drivers move in to start work."

Mr McGonigal said a key piece of equipment to be used in the slip clearance was a large Allis Charmers HD16 bulldozer that has had its blade removed and works a high-strength winch. The large machine - known as 'The Bandit' - would be vital to the benching process.

"This is a huge machine with extremely good torque and can winch up to 48 tonnes.  It's been used to recover everything from swamp Kauri logs to tipped over trains.  It will be half buried in the ground, and it will anchor our heavy machinery when it's working at the top of the slip face. It's a key element in our safety controls and has already proved its worth in cutting the track to the top.

"The team also had to enlist the help of a helicopter to get larger items of essential plant and equipment up to the top of the slip (including equipment storage and portaloos). Heavy rain has made conditions at the top of the slip very difficult, so we are working hard to get a safe working platform established before drivers start benching the slip on Monday."

Meanwhile, one of the three new slow vehicle bays on the Saddle Road is now complete and construction of the other two are well underway.

Crews are continually monitoring the state of this route and making repairs as required. Speed limits of 30km/hr are in place along the alternative routes to calm traffic through difficult sections of road and a work programme is underway to complete the necessary repairs as soon as possible. This includes teams working at night. Following discussions with the NZTA, Horizons Regional Council has also advised that the stretch of Manawatu River 200 metres either side of the slip will be closed from Monday 28 November until the land above is stable. This is to protect all river users from falling debris that may be dislodged from the earthworks above.

The NZTA has also set up a dedicated Manawatu Gorge web page, which will be updated regularly with all the latest information: www.nzta.govt.nz/manawatu-gorge

http://nz.news.yahoo.com/a/-/top-stories/12024874/bandit-rolls-into-manawatu-gorge/

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« Reply #64 on: November 26, 2011, 03:18:15 pm »


DOC urges walkers to use gorge track

By VICKI WATERHOUSE - Manawatu Standard | 12 NOON - Friday, 25 November 2011

STILL OPEN: Department of Conservation ranger Tim Groenendijk with DOC volunteers Alex Glass and Debby Brunskill on the Manawatu Gorge walk. — Photo: MURRAY WILSON.
STILL OPEN: Department of Conservation ranger Tim Groenendijk
with DOC volunteers Alex Glass and Debby Brunskill on the
Manawatu Gorge walk. — Photo: MURRAY WILSON.


THE Department of Conservation says it needs people to keep walking the Manawatu Gorge track in order to get the funding needed to improve it.

Only 1173 people used the track in September and October, compared with 3391 people during the same period last year.

The sudden drop has been attributed to the public perception that the gorge slip, which has closed State Highway 3 to traffic since August, had also shut down the walking track.

Many people were deterred by a barrier that was erected before the car park, though the barrier could be driven around.

Two weeks ago the NZ Transport Agency put up signs informing people the car park and track were still open, but whether they would affect foot traffic was yet to be seen.

DOC spokeswoman Margaret Metcalfe encouraged people to use the walking track because it would mean DOC would be in a better position to make improvements to facilities and the track.

She said if people valued the track it could be expanded, with the possibility of a mountainbiking track or another loop track added in the future. "The more people up there the better, from our point of view," she said.

Ms Metcalfe said DOC got a lot of feedback from people about how much the track had improved.

"It's just disappointing that people are missing out," she said. "They must think it's not accessible."

Part of the track was closed for a few days but was reopened on Tuesday.

Ms Metcalfe said this may have deterred people too.

The number of people currently using the track was enough to "maintain the status quo", she said.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/6033617/DOC-urges-walkers-to-use-gorge-track
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« Reply #65 on: November 26, 2011, 03:18:33 pm »


Stretch of river a no-go

By STACEY KIRK - Manawatu Standard | 12 NOON - Saturday, 26 November 2011

LANDSLIDE: Workers using heavy machinery attempt to clear the Manawatu Gorge. The road was blocked when 20,000 cubic metres of rubble was brought down by rain last month. — Photo: NZTA.
LANDSLIDE: Workers using heavy machinery attempt to clear the Manawatu Gorge. The road was blocked
when 20,000 cubic metres of rubble was brought down by rain last month. — Photo: NZTA.


A SECTION of the Manawatu River will be closed to the public because of safety concerns relating to the massive slip that has closed the Manawatu Gorge for more than three months.

But kayakers training for the Coast to Coast multisport event are frustrated after being told to find another place to practise.

Horizons Regional Council has announced that a 200-metre stretch of the river, either side of the slip, will be closed indefinitely, from Monday.

Monday will also mark 100 days since State Highway 3 through the gorge was closed by a series of slips.

Motorists have been forced to use the Saddle Road and Pahiatua Track.

Manawatu Canoe Club member and Q-Kayaks officer manager Melanie Grant said the closure would be a "huge bummer" for a lot of kayakers.

"It's been affecting us because there's people who have been training for the Coast to Coast every week. It's a particular piece of river that's a little bit more demanding, and good training with the rapids."

She said the business had already been turning people away from hiring boats for that portion of the river, and kayakers would most likely have to resort to training in the Palmerston North Lagoon, or paddle from Ashhurst down river.


CLOSED: A 200 metre stretch of waterway either side of the slip is off-limits to river-users. — Photo: NZTA.
CLOSED: A 200 metre stretch of waterway either side of the slip is off-limits to river-users. — Photo: NZTA.

Manawatu Gorge Jet owner Mark Wickham said the slip and closure of the gorge had only had a small effect on his business because he did not normally travel through that particular part, but he would have to rethink his route for a big booking of 60 people he was taking next weekend.

Horizons harbourmaster Evan Lloyd said discussions had been held with the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and the decision to close the gorge was made to allow the agency to carry out work to stabilise the land above.

"NZTA will take precautions to warn users and stop work if anyone does enter the danger zone, but it is important that people remain vigilant and stay away from the area until further notice."

He said other parts of the catchment were suitable for recreational and commercial use.

NZTA state highways manager David McGonigal said work at the top of the landslide would start on Monday, and that could send a lot of loose debris down into the river.

"There's a lot of big rocks and we have had a lot of rain over the last couple of weeks."

"We're going to be starting with machines on Monday, and they'll be working at the top of the slip moving metal down the hillside."

A large machine — known as "The Bandit" — had been brought in to carry out the terracing process.

"This is a huge machine with extremely good torque and can winch up to 48 tonnes," Mr McGonigal said.

"It's been used to recover everything from swamp kauri logs to tipped-over trains. It will be half buried in the ground, and it will anchor our heavy machinery when it's working at the top."

He did not know how long the river would be closed.


SH3 Manawatu Gorge

http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/6040198/Stretch-of-river-a-no-go
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« Reply #66 on: November 30, 2011, 11:01:08 am »


Lockout plan for traffic

By MATHEW GROCOTT - Manawatu Standard | 12 NOON - Saturday, 26 November 2011

Woodville North

A LOCKED GATE could be placed over a Woodville road in an effort to keep motorists on the right track.

The Tararua District Council will consider on Wednesday whether to close a section of Oxford Street to through traffic.

The change would force motorists to drive through Woodville when taking the Manawatu Gorge detour over the Saddle Road. The gorge has been shut to motorists since August after a series of slips.

A report to the meeting prepared by chief executive Blair King said motorists were using the stretch of Oxford Street, between Woodland and Pinfold roads, as a shortcut.

The increase in traffic was damaging the road. The New Zealand Transport Agency has picked up the responsibility of maintaining the detour route but this did not extend to looking after the piece of Oxford Street in question.

Chicanes and additional signs were put in place in October to discourage motorists from going off the official detour route.

If a gate was placed over the road residents and those with a legitimate reason to use the route would be given access.

The council would also consider on Wednesday whether to defer the February start of a planned upgrade of Woodville's main street because of the gorge closure.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/6040202/Lockout-plan-for-traffic
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« Reply #67 on: December 01, 2011, 12:14:39 pm »


Gate will deter detour diversions

By MATHEW GROCOTT - Manawatu Standard | 12 NOON - Thursday, 01 December 2011

A GATE will be placed across a road near Woodville in the latest effort to keep traffic on the signposted detour over Saddle Road.

Tararua District Council voted yesterday to close Woodlands Road at its intersection with Oxford Street. The move would force all traffic using Saddle Rd to drive through Woodville.

Up to 1500 vehicles a day had been using Woodlands Road and then Pinfold Road to divert around the town.

Chief executive Blair King said the council had the power to close the road through the Local Government Act. Chicanes had already been installed on Woodlands Road to deter traffic.

Motorists with a legitimate reason to use Woodlands Road would be given access at the discretion of the council.

A date for the closure has not been set as the council would first approach the New Zealand Transport Agency about a temporary closure of Woodlands Road.

Repairs to Woodlands Road have reduced a section of the road to one lane.

The council also voted not to delay a planned upgrade of Woodville's main street. A petition signed by owners of 10 Woodville businesses had asked that the February start date be delayed.

The changes in Woodville followed a decision last month by the agency to change the layout of two intersections in Ashhurst to give right of way to traffic using Saddle Road.

The changes were introduced to deter motorists from cutting through other streets.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/6067961/Gate-will-deter-detour-diversions
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« Reply #68 on: December 03, 2011, 12:00:04 am »


Landslide debris not going to waste

Gorge rubble for road projects

By JIMMY ELLINGHAM - Manawatu Standard | 12 NOON - Friday, 03 December 2011

SOME OF the thousands of cubic metres of rubble that have fallen on to State Highway3 in the Manawatu Gorge will be trucked away for use on other projects.

Since the first slip near the Ashhurst end of the gorge in August, the road has been closed for more than 100 days. Since then some 200,000 cubic metres of the Tararua Range has slid down the hillside.

Yesterday the NZ Transport Agency announced that almost half the rubble would be used in upgrade work.

Presently, SH2 at Corby Road, in the Hawke's Bay, and around Papatawa, north of Woodville, were being worked on.

Regional state highway manager David McGonigal said about 35,000 cubic metres of debris would be used on the Hawke's Bay work, while another 50,000 would be used at Papatawa.

"It's ideal for a road base, and we're really pleased to be able to recycle it for this purpose," he said.

"Rather than having to buy specially quarried material from another source, we'll be able to make use of a significant quantity of the material cleared from the gorge."

Generally, such material cost about $5 a cubic metre, saving about $250,000 at Papatawa and $175,000 further north.

The $10.9 million project around Papatawa has stalled since the collapse of Taranaki-based Hurlstone Earthmoving in July.

Originally it was to be completed in April next year, but will probably not be finished until late 2012.

Mr McGonigal confirmed yesterday that the tender process for a new contractor was almost complete, and the transport agency would likely announce early next week who was taking over from Hurlstone.

The realignment work was about one-third finished.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/6075065/Landslide-debris-not-going-to-waste



Manawatu Gorge to stay closed long after Christmas

The Dominion Post | 4:33PM - Friday, 03 December 2011

THE complex process of clearing the Manawatu Gorge slip will keep it closed until at least the end of January and could cost up to $10 million.

The New Zealand Transport Agency plans to excavate some 200,000 cubic metres of unstable rubble from the top of the gorge down, creating benches as it goes.

State highways manager David McGonigal said the agency had about $7 million worth of costs in mind at present, but the end figure could go as high as $10 million.

Until the first few benches were established, it would not know how long the excavation process will take, he said.

"But we know, from the volume of work ahead of us, it won't be open until at least the end of January."

Variables, such as poor weather, could hold the process up even further, McGonigal said.

"This is one of the most complex slips we've ever had in the gorge and certainly one of the most complex in New Zealand."

"The most difficult part is the terrain we're dealing with...it's about 300 metres down to the bottom. There's also a lot of hazards, like loose rocks and trees."

Repeated slips have kept the troublesome portion of State Highway 3 closed for all but three days since a major landslide on August 18, about 1km from the Ashhurst end.

It is the longest the gorge has ever been closed, surpassing its previous record of 70 days in 2004.

Excavators spent two weeks cutting a track through dense bush on the Tararua Range to reach the top of the slip.

They began the benching process earlier this week, using a large Allis Charmers HD16 bulldozer, nicknamed the ‘The Bandit’, which operates off the end of a winch.

The agency invited media to its work site at the top of the slip this morning, to view the process first hand.

The crude beginnings of its first bench have been carved out of the hillside, as has a helipad and a base camp further up the hill.

At present, there was only enough room for about five people and four earth-moving machines at the top of the slip, McGonigal said.

The agency was looking at ways to speed up the process, which included having duel excavation operations at the top and bottom of the slip, and working around the clock when it was safe to do so.

Among those hit hardest by the Manawatu Gorge closure are Woodville retailers, who rely heavily on people using the gorge to travel between Wellington and Hawke's Bay, and thus, travelling through their town.

Earlier this week, the Tararua District Council voted to block access to Oxford Road, which connects to the gorge's alternate route Saddle Rd and allows travellers to bypass Woodville.

Blocking Oxford Road would force Saddle Road users onto Woodlands Road, which takes them through the town. But a section of Woodlands Road is currently down to one lane and requires and upgrade before the closure can happen.

NZTA planning and investment manager Delany Meyers said the agency may reach an extra-ordinary funding agreement with the Tararua council to fund the upgrade.

The council hoped to have Oxford Road closed by December 16 but that date was not set in stone, she said.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/6077297/Manawatu-Gorge-to-stay-closed-long-after-Christmas
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« Reply #69 on: December 03, 2011, 12:14:03 pm »

just imagine if there is someone under that debris .......


No end in sight for Manawatu Gorge road

LATEST: It is unlikely that State Highway 3 through the Manawatu Gorge will reopen before the end of January – and the budget for the cleanup and associated work could hit $10 million.

The New Zealand Transport Agency revealed those details yesterday as the Manawatu Standard toured the slip site that has closed the highway for all but three days since August 18 – a total of 105 days.

Regional state highway manager David McGonigal said so far about $6m had been paid out for work on clearing the rubble and repairs to the Pahiatua Track and Saddle Rd.

About $2m of the expected $9m to $10m expenditure would go toward maintaining those alternative east-west routes.

The latest slip is still covering the road surface and Higgins contractors are now working from the top to remove the rubble.

Using a "benching" technique they will clear the site from the top down by building a series of tracks or cuttings into the hill and clearing the unstable material.

That work started this week and could have the slip site cleared by Christmas.

Mr McGonigal said the road surface and bridge structures which were covered in debris would probably be damaged, but nobody could get in there to have a look until the mess was cleaned up.

"It's too dangerous for men to be climbing around the bridges under 80,000 cubic metres of rock," he said.

"The most difficult part is the terrain we're dealing with. We're standing on top of a hillside that's 300 metres down and it's very steep as well.

"This is one of the most complex slips we've had in the gorge and certainly one of the most complex in New Zealand."

Work would also extend to 24 hours a day, seven days a week, when conditions allowed.

Meanwhile, a regional land transport committee meeting would decide next week where a proposal about east-west routes sat on the list of transport funding priorities.

Transport Agency regional transport and investment manager Delaney Myers said once that was decided, the specifics of the project would be sorted out.

"The agency is certainly of the view quite extraordinary funding arrangements could be reached," she said.

During the election campaign, Palmerston North MP Iain Lees-Galloway called for an investigation into options for the east-west roading route.

He said possible alternatives to the present road would be upgrading the Pahiatua Track or Saddle Rd, building something new through the gorge or cutting a new road over the hill.

"I don't think anybody expects a gold-plated option here but what we do expect is something that's going to be reliable, safe and provide the link to the east coast that we need in order to be effective as a distribution hub."

Manawatu MP Ian McKelvie said transport officials were doing all they could to reopen the highway, but thought a new road would not be possible right now.

"I accept it would be lovely to have a new road, but we've got to fund it as a community."

Transport minister Steven Joyce said that when the new government was sworn in it would start investigating improvements to "the resilience of the gorge route and its alternatives".

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/6080986/No-end-in-sight-for-Manawatu-Gorge-road

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« Reply #70 on: December 03, 2011, 12:27:45 pm »


Notice how it is the Nats who are dragging the chain on coming up with a new reliable east-west highway between Manawatu and Tararua districts?

Notice too how it is the Labour MP for Palmerston North is is for doing something to fix the problem permanently, instead of dragging the chain like the Nats MPs are doing?

It's that anti-progress (unless it benefits their rich-prick mates) Nats' attitude if it involves the provinces coming to the fore yet again!
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« Reply #71 on: December 03, 2011, 12:32:23 pm »


Notice how it is the Nats who are dragging the chain on coming up with a new reliable east-west highway between Manawatu and Tararua districts?

Notice too how it is the Labour MP for Palmerston North is is for doing something to fix the problem permanently, instead of dragging the chain like the Nats MPs are doing?

It's that anti-progress (unless it benefits their rich-prick mates) Nats' attitude if it involves the provinces coming to the fore yet again!


did i read somewhere that some Labour loser had come up with the idea of a multi million dollar tunnel ......

now wouldnt one of those be nice when a slip came down and trapped people in vehicles inside due to the slip closing both ends of the tunnel ....

guess if it happened the nats would get the blame for building it in thefirst place .....

you can please some people some of the time but not all people all of the time
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« Reply #72 on: December 06, 2011, 12:04:22 pm »

did i read somewhere that some Labour loser had come up with the idea of a multi million dollar tunnel ......


Get with the programme.....scroll back up to the second part of Reply #60 (on this very same page of the thread) and read how Nats wankers deliberately told lies in a vain effort to smear a Labour MP. Typical Nats tossers, eh? They wouldn't know the truth if it fell on them!

Are you too lazy to read what has already been posted in this thread? Or are you merely just blind?

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« Reply #73 on: December 06, 2011, 12:05:30 pm »


Slip may have damaged gorge road

By JIMMY ELLINGHAM - Manawatu Standard | 12 NOON - Monday, 05 December 2011

INUNDATED: The damage done by the recent slip in Manawatu Gorge is clear to see. — MURRAY WILSON/Fairfax NZ.
INUNDATED: The damage done by the recent slip in Manawatu Gorge is clear to see.
 — MURRAY WILSON/Fairfax NZ.


TRANSPORT AUTHORITIES don't expect structural damage suffered by the Manawatu Gorge road will push out the route's reopening date.

NZ Transport Agency regional state highways manager David McGonigal confirmed motorists would continue to make the slow and winding journeys over Saddle Road or the Pahiatua Track at least until the end of January, while the slip blocking State Highway 3 is cleared.

It has been closed for 107 days since the first slip on August 18.

Higgins contractors were working to clear the 80,000 cubic metres of loose material blocking the road.

The cleanup and associated costs were expected to be as much as $10 million.

Safety concerns meant nobody could get near the road surface, but Mr McGonigal said it would probably be damaged.

Earlier slips hadn't harmed any of the road's supporting structures, but they were smaller than the present blockage.

Mr McGonigal said options for repairing any damage could include a temporary Bailey bridge, bringing in pre-made bridge decks or repairing cracks by pouring in concrete.

The agency could also pre-order bridge beams.

This would mean even if repairs were ongoing, motorists could still pass between the Tararua and Ruahine ranges from the end of next month.

A regional land transport committee meeting tomorrow would decide where a proposal about east-west routes sat on the list of transport funding priorities.

The transport agency is expected to announce this week that Fulton Hogan has won the contract to complete the Papatawa realignment on SH2 between Woodville and Dannevirke. The work has stalled since Hurlstone Earthmoving collapsed.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/6086531/Slip-may-have-damaged-gorge-road



$5m a year for gorge inaction

By MATHEW GROCOTT - Manawatu Standard | 12:10 PM - Tuesday, 06 December 2011

NEW ZEALAND would lose $5 million for every year nothing is done about the road through the Manawatu Gorge, according to an independent report.

John Hannan of Corplogistics did the report as he felt the estimated economic costs of the slips reported in media were too low. He used figures about the cost of slips from NZ Transport Agency and the added cost to motorists of using alternative routes to come up with his figure.

The Government has promised to investigate options for increasing the resilience of the east-west route.

Mr Hannan suggested those looking at upgrading the route could use a figure of $100m — the cost of doing nothing for next 20 years — as a possible amount to spend on a solution.

"A more qualified opinion may suggest a different timeframe," he said. "Nevertheless ... a rate of $5m per year is what I have calculated the gorge under current operating conditions is costing our region."

Mr Hannan said he used figures from NZTA to estimate the cost of clearing slips over the past 10 years to be $21m, which included the $9m spent so far this year and the $5m in 2004 when the gorge road was closed for 70 days.

If the gorge remained closed until mid-February, the estimated cost to motorists in using the alternative routes would be $21.6m, the report said. The NZTA admitted last week the gorge road would likely not be open before the end of January. The cost to motorists of the closure in 2004 was $8.6m. Adding the costs together, Mr Hannan reached the figure of at least $50m over 10 years or $5m per year.

Palmerston North MP Iain Lees-Galloway had not read the study but said it sounded like "exactly the type of information" that would be needed when the Government investigated whether to fund upgrades to the three east-west roads.

"I hope that the Government will look seriously at this report and anything that NZTA might want to commission themselves so we have a good understanding of what the situation is and what the cost of doing nothing is."


http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/6092726/5m-a-year-for-gorge-inaction
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If you aren't living life on the edge, you're taking up too much space! 
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« Reply #74 on: December 06, 2011, 12:10:20 pm »

Burzz...."Slip may have damaged gorge road"

...nah...nah ...I cant see any damage.. Wink

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