Source: New Zealand Transport Agency
Work to seal State Highway 43, an iconic New Zealand journey and one of only two remaining unsealed sections of state highway in the country, will get underway in November.
The project will improve safety and boost the region’s economy, while retaining the picturesque journey and protecting the natural environment.
Funded through Kānoa – Regional Economic Development and Investment unit, the project will see the unsealed road through the Tangarakau Gorge on the Forgotten World Highway sealed.
Safety improvements such as signage, line markings and guardrail will be installed through the gorge and the speed limit will be reviewed as part of the sealing project.
Director of Regional Relationships Linda Stewart says sealing the road through the gorge will make it much safer for locals and visitors.
“It will encourage more tourists to the area as many rental car businesses don’t let drivers travel on unsealed roads.
“This project will result in many benefits for the community and the region as a whole. We know there will be lots of people happy to see it get underway.”
The sealing project is part of a $25.7 million package of works for the Forgotten World Highway funded through Kānoa – Regional Economic Development and Investment Unit and the regional package of the NZ Upgrade Programme. This package of works aims to increase economic activity by helping to create jobs and contributing an estimated $35m to $45m to the region, while significantly improving safety for everyone using the route.
Stratford District Council Mayor Neil Volzke says there will be many benefits that accrue from upgrading this road and the whole region will gain by having an improved third access route into the Taranaki region.
“Successive Stratford Mayors and the wider community have been calling for this for decades, so naturally I’m stoked that the first part of the sealing work in the gorge is about to begin.
“The total package of improvements will make the Forgotten World Highway a much safer drive and be much more inviting for visitors to the region to use,” says Mayor Volzke.
The first 2km of the route will be sealed this summer by local contractor Inframax.
The Forgotten World Highway is one of Aotearoa’s iconic back country journeys, so retaining the character of the area and protecting the natural environment has been a key objective in designing the sealing project.
“Our project team has been working closely with iwi and the Department of Conservation to ensure the sealing project has minimal impact on the surrounding environment, and that the picturesque journey through the gorge is retained,” says Ms Stewart.