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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

State Highway 3 Awakino Gorge is scheduled to re-open to one lane, under stop/go today at 3pm following the replacement of a culvert, which collapsed due to heavy rain this week.

The collapse of the culvert forced the closure of the highway on Wednesday 10 May. Contractors and supporting subcontractors have been working non-stop since Wednesday afternoon, throughout Thursday and into Friday morning without stopping in cold, wet and difficult conditions to get SH3 open. 

 Waka Kotahi Manawatū-Whanganui/Taranaki System Manager Rob Service says the work has been very challenging in poor weather.

“Waka Kotahi would like to thank the dedicated crew who have worked around the clock to re-open SH3 as soon as possible,” Mr Service says.

The work has involved the excavation and removal of the collapsed pipe, preparing a new 22m x 6m trench across SH3 and installing nine new pipe sections totalling 18m in length, with the team backfilling 1000 cubic metres of aggregate and compacting layers back up to road level as each section of pipe is put in place.

“Safety is critical in this kind of work, which involves heavy machinery and undertaking lifting operations around excavations in the dark.

“It has had to be carefully planned and managed to minimise risk to the team who have worked under flood lights to illuminate the operation,” Mr Service says.

SH3 has been closed between Manganui Road and Awakau Road, near Awakino since Wednesday 10 May, with the highway only accessible from the Taranaki side. 

“While access will be reinstated later today, the single lane is currently unsealed, and will remain under temporary traffic management for another week while the reinstatement is completed. We’re advising road users to take care while this traffic management remains in place.

“The site will require ongoing maintenance to hold the road over the winter months until final resurfacing can be completed in spring once conditions are drier and warmer.” 

Road users are advised to use SH4 as a detour between Te Mapara and Taumarunui until it re-opens later today.