The New Zealand Transport Agency has motored along in resealing State Highway 43 – The Forgotten World Highway – pencilling in late March for when sealing will commence.
The Forgotten World Highway is a 148km stretch of road between Stratford and Taumarunui. It is famous for its 12kms of unsealed road.
It’s the only State Highway in the country with an unsealed section.
The 72km of gravel road in the middle of State Highway 38 between Waiotapu and Wairoa is not a designated section of highway, essentially splitting that road in two.
NZ Autocar first reported on the resealing of The Forgotten World Highway when works began last November.
NZTA says resealing and repairing the road will have economic and social benefits for the neighbouring communities.
“Sealing the road through the gorge will make journeys much safer and easier for locals and visitors,” Director of Regional Relationships Linda Stewart said.
“This project will result in many economic benefits to the Taranaki region, through tourism and the employment opportunities due to the increased economic activity.”
NZTA anticipates the road works will contribute $35 – $45 million towards the local economy.
Since our first report, a significant amount of work has gone into updating the road.
Of the 12kms of gravel road, the first two kilometres is already undergoing construction.
All necessary ditches and channels to flow water away from the road have been built. Pavement works begin in a few weeks.
Interestingly, NZTA initially said the road’s speed limit would be reviewed.
However, their latest report has no indication of a pending change.
Instead, NZTA mentioned other safety improvements they have implemented on the road.
These include over 220 new signs scattered along the highway. Trees once lining the road and deemed ‘dangerous’ have also been removed.
A replacement Manawawiri Stream bridge was completed last year and is already open for public use.
A $25.7 million budget was allocated for the improvements of The Forgotten Highway.
NZ Autocar has sought comment from NZTA under the Official Information Act about how much of the budget has been spent and whether the project will exceed what was allocated.