One of the last two stretches of unsealed state highway in New Zealand is set to finally get a new seal, as well as new signage, line markings, and a guard rail.
The piece of road in question is State Highway 43, known more commonly as the Forgotten Highway. Its name stems from the remote nature of the road; starting in Straton and ending 150km later in Taumarunui with no petrol stations on the way.
As part of the changes, the Forgotten Highway’s speed limit is also set to be reviewed. Given the winding, mountainous nature of the road one would expect that a speed limit revision is likely. Unfortunately for those who enjoy the challenging piece of bitumen.
Director of Regional Relationships Linda Stewart expects that the newly sealed section will attract more tourists to the region, citing that those with rental cars will now be able to travel on the state highway without fear of breaching unsealed road conditions.
“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,” Stewart added.
“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.”
Stratford District Council Mayor Neil Volzke says that the work is a long time coming. “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,” Volzke said.
“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.”