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Reply To: The Forgotten World Highway – SH43

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  • Town/City: Tauranga
  • Bike: BMW R100GS, Ducati Mark 3 250 narrow case
Rank: Round the World Adventure Globetrotter is reporting a new slip on the Forgotten Highway.

Big slip on Forgotten Highway threatens tourism and freight links

A major slip on State Highway 43 near Taumarunui has closed access to all traffic on the northern section of the Forgotten World Highway, threatening tourism and freight links.

The slip is the second major road closure in the King Country area after a large landslide severely damaged SH4 between Whanganui and Raetihi on October 4.

New Zealand Transport Agency systems manager Mark Owen said the SH43 slip between Mangaparo and Kururau Rd, which first occurred on September 14, was now closed to all traffic.

“It is of significant size, approximately 40m long, and appears to be caused by mass land movement, possibly due to land saturation,” Owens said.

A 20 minute detour was open for travellers on sealed roads between Whangamomona and Taumarunui, via Ohura and SH4.

Whangamomona Hotel owner Vicki Pratt said the road closure would affect the summer tourism in the area.

“We have between 22,000-25,000 people come through Whangamomona in the summer months,” she said.

“Many will be unsure if the Forgotten World Highway is fully open and may bypass us completely.”

Pratt said the detour was confusing to foreigners.

“The closed area is very dangerous and unstable,” she said.

“We had a person today who had driven through the closed section who said they did not know it was closed.”

National Road Carriers executive member Tom Cloke said the closure was another blow to the rural community.

“The King Country is slowly getting cut off by these big slips,” he said.

Cloke said more regular maintenance was needed to prevent the slips occurring.

The maintenance was “reactive, and not proactive”, he said.