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Home Forums TRACKS & GPS North Island tracks map The Forgotten World Highway – SH43

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
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  • #6680
    Eddieb
    Keymaster
    • Bike: Suzuki DR650 ADV
    • Rank: 1200cc Rider

    Built on colonial bridle paths formed in the late 19th century, the Forgotten World Highway is remote and mysterious. The Forgotten World Highway can
    [See the full post at: The Forgotten World Highway – SH43]

    #15067
    Eddieb
    Keymaster
    • Bike: Suzuki DR650 ADV
    • Rank: 1200cc Rider

    The gravel section of SH43 The Forgotten Highway is apparently in the worst condition it’s been for years, this doesn’t mean it’s difficult in an adventure riding sense but there’s a lot of local pushing to get it sealed.

    I think it would be a shame if it got sealed as it’s part of the character of the road, but it could be the beginning of the end if residents have their way.

    Home-made “closed” signs appeared at both ends of a pot-hole riddled gorge over Labour Weekend, with residents worried it was too dangerous to drive through.

    The road through the remote Tangarakau Gorge in Eastern Taranaki is the only unsealed section of the Forgotten World Highway – State Highway 43 – and in the last few months has developed large potholes.

    The condition of the highway, which is used by an average of 130 vehicles each day, prompted the erection of the signs at both ends of the gorge, warning drivers the road was closed because of the potholes.
    The road through the Tangarakau gorge is said to be in the worst condition it has ever been in.
    David Burroughs/FAIRFAX NZ


    The road through the Tangarakau gorge is said to be in the worst condition it has ever been in.

    On Wednesday the signs had been removed and Downers, who hold the contract to maintain the road, were spreading new gravel over the road.

    However due to the rain and the traffic going over it, even the new gravel had begun to develop holes by Wednesday afternoon.

    “It makes the road unique having it unsealed but it just needs to be maintained,” Whangamomona Hotel manager Anika Williams said.

    Whangamomona sits along the Forgotten World Highway about 101km away from New Plymouth.

    Williams said they had already had three people stop at the hotel asking for help with flat tyres but since the closure of the town’s only garage due to the death of former mechanic and locally appointed “president” Murt Kennard, no one was able to help them.


    The Whangamomona Hotel set up complaints box, which contains the highway hotline for the New Zealand Transport Agency.

    She said she always avoided the route whenever she headed to Taumarunui, instead choosing to take the longer route over Mt Damper.

    The hotel had also set up a “gorge complaints” box, which contained the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) complaints hotline number as the hotel staff had had enough of hearing from disgruntled tourists.

    Residents raised the issue with Taranaki-King Country MP Barbara Kuriger at a meeting in Whangamomona two weeks ago and Kuriger said she was now looking into it.
    The potholes along the route have been getting worse over the last few months, residents said.
    David Burroughs/FAIRFAX NZ

    The potholes along the route have been getting worse over the last few months, residents said.

    “I am currently working on understanding the scale and cost of the work that is required, by meeting with all those involved who have an associated interest in the project in order to have the correct information for what is required,” she said.

    “Once this has occurred, we will be in a better position to advocate for the best possible result.”

    Ohura resident Sally Peat, who had lived in the area for 36 years, said she was surprised and horrified at the state of the road when she drove through it last week.

    She had expected the road to be well maintained in preparation for the two annual garden festivals in the region.

    “It is the worst I have ever seen it and a disgrace to ignore road conditions for Taranaki tourists’ busiest weekends,” she said.

    Rob and Annie Fletcher, who run Back Country Accommodation, said the condition of the road was the worst they had seen it in 11 years.

    “It’s the worst it’s ever been because they’re not spending any money on it,” Rob said.

    The couple likened driving along the road to being on an episode of the TV show Survivor, as they were never sure what they would come across or if they would be able to get home.

    “We always take a small bag with us,” Annie said.

    Taumarunui man Mike Cooney and his mate Ian Atkins, from Whangamata, drove through the gorge on trail bikes and said while it was a lot rougher than usual, it would be a shame if it was sealed.

    “I think people are getting a bit too precious about it,” Cooney said.

    “It’s part of the adventure. We’re losing a few of these out-of-the-way places because people are getting their cars dirty.”

    NZ Transport Agency highway manager Ross I’Anson said they were aware of the problems through the gorge.

    “Our maintenance contractor has repaired the potholes and applied a running course over the road,” he said.

    “This is a layer of road metal placed on the road and then rolled to provide a good running surface.”

    I’Anson said the road had deteriorated quicker than they expected over the weekend and they had undertaken the repairs as soon as they were made aware of the problem.

    Between $60,000 and $70,000 was spent on gorge section of road each year, he said.

    While Downers had recently lost the maintenance contract for the Stratford District Council to Inframax, I’Anson said that didn’t affect the State Highway and Downers would continue to do the maintenance along the route.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/85797299/Why-residents-closed-this-State-Highway-with-a-home-made-sign

    #15085
    ntst8
    Participant
    • Bike: DRZ400E
    • Rank: 650cc Rider

    Was through there today, the grader has been working on the Gorge road.
    Lots of loose stuff and odd profiling at present, much fun.
    After refueling at Stratford my GPS packed up and while taking a “shortcut” i took a wrong turn and decided to see where it went, ended up following Tarata Road, then Junction Road until popping out again on the Pohokura Saddle. Nice bit of gravel on Junction Road.

    #18924
    Eddieb
    Keymaster
    • Bike: Suzuki DR650 ADV
    • Rank: 1200cc Rider

    Stratford District Council is looking at the future of Whangamomona and 2 of the things it’s looking at are the full sealing of SH43 – the Forgotten Highway and the future status of the Old Whangamomona Road.

    Stratford District Council has a submission form where you can read it’s thoughts and provide feedback. You can download the form here: http://www.stratford.govt.nz/images/District_Plan/Stratford-2035-Future-of-Whangamomona.pdf

    #19079
    Eddieb
    Keymaster
    • Bike: Suzuki DR650 ADV
    • Rank: 1200cc Rider

    Remote state highway needs $8m upgrade, report says

    The full article can be read on Stuff.co.nz: https://www.stuff.co.nz/motoring/news/95606451/remote-state-highway-needs-8m-upgrade-report-says

    It is “essential” that one of New Zealand’s most remote, and most popular, tourist roads is fully sealed at a cost of millions of dollars, a consultants’ report has concluded.

    Upgrading State Highway 43, also known as the Forgotten World Highway, would save millions of dollars in crash costs and help tourism reach its full potential, the report commissioned by the Taranaki Regional Council (TRC) found.

    …..

    “A relatively small investment in safety could result in savings of $7 million in crash costs,” it said.

    It also said the NZTA had cut its spending on the road from $1.2 million in 2010/2011 to $500,000 in 2015/2016.

    “Such improvements are vital if promising new tourism initiatives in Taranaki and Ruapehu District are to realise their full potential,” it said.

    #19919
    Eddieb
    Keymaster
    • Bike: Suzuki DR650 ADV
    • Rank: 1200cc Rider
    #19923
    OldBeer
    Participant
    • Bike: R1200GS, DL650, DRZ250, DRZ400S,
    • Rank: 1200cc Rider

    I rode it on Saturday – gravel section was fine. No worse than any other gravel road I’ve been on lately. Don’t understand what all the fuss is about.

    Having said that, there is enough gravel road around there that sealing the little bit through the gorge is not such a great loss.

    There are much more important things to worry about, imho.

    My 2c

    #26885
    Dave Young
    Participant
    • Bike: KLX150L, R1200GS
    • Rank: 1200cc Rider

    This just a quick update on the condition of the gravel section of The Forgotten Highway (SH43). I found the road is generally in good condition but with it being winter now it is very wet so any the exposed clay is slippery particularly on the cambers, also the middle of the road has a few decent sized potholes. A reasonable set of knobbies should keep you out of trouble (my 90/10 Anakee 3 tyres were not the best but did the job). Look out for stock trucks charging along the road as they tend not to slow down or move over for approaching motorcycles.

    SH43 gravel section

    #27617
    Dave Young
    Participant
    • Bike: KLX150L, R1200GS
    • Rank: 1200cc Rider

    The entire gravel road section of the Forgotten World Highway SH43 is being graded at the moment. I rode through yesterday and countless double trucks were dropping fresh metal on the road. Some sections were “fun” where the metal, spanning the entire width of the road, was up to 12 cm deep and the grader had not yet visited.

    It appears to be the start of tourist season as tour buses and camper vans were steadily streaming through from the Taumarunui direction, so take care traversing the gorge and be prepared to ride close to the road edges. And watch out for the kamikaze goats that seem to take great delight from suddenly jumping out in front of you.

    #29293
    Eddieb
    Keymaster
    • Bike: Suzuki DR650 ADV
    • Rank: 1200cc Rider

    Grave doubts over whether State Highway 43 upgrade will ever happen

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/111679761/grave-doubts-over-whether-state-highway-43-upgrade-will-ever-happen

    Opinion: Joshua Morgan is probably spinning in his grave right now.

    The legendary surveyor’s final resting place is atop a small bush-clad hill that overlooks the road he plotted through some of the North Island’s most isolated and rugged countryside – the road now officially SH43 but better known as the Forgotten World Highway.

    These days lots of people know the story of Joshua Morgan, about how the Government convinced him to come out of retirement to survey the route for an eastern road linking Stratford in Taranaki with Taumarunui 150km away in King Country.

    By early 1893 the surveyors had reached Tangarakau River at about the halfway point. Plotting a route through this obstacle was a massive task, but Morgan did it. The road tracks along the river’s northern side until reaching a very steep gorge, then it crosses a bridge to the southern bank and snakes its way north until it reaches more open country.

    But Joshua Morgan never saw the road completed. In late February 1893 he developed severe stomach cramps – probably peritonitis – and died in terrible pain eight days later. He was buried where he died, on that small hill overlooking the bridge that crosses into the gorge.

    When the road was opened two years later it was totally unsealed and at times very muddy, which almost immediately began to prompt complaints to the Government over frustrations that badly-needed upgrading work was constantly being deferred. You can imagine the amusement then, when in 1902 the Prime Minister of the time was tipped out of his carriage and into the mud when its wheels hit a hole in the road.

    Today, 117 years later, you can guarantee there are plenty of political leaders in Taranaki and King Country who would probably like something similar to happen again – because upgrading work continues to be deferred.

    This is particularly the case with the 12km section through Tangarakau Gorge, which has never been sealed.

    It’s a disgraceful piece of road that is a physical barrier to further development of the tourist potential of the Forgotten World Highway and Taranaki, not the least because most car rental companies forbid their clients from driving on unsealed roads.

    Tragically, any on-board satellite navigation system will advise tourists that the shortest route between the very popular and now-overcrowded Tongariro Crossing and the increasingly popular Pouakai Crossing, is SH43. But because of that 12km piece of unsealed road, tourists in rental cars aren’t allowed to use it, and travellers in camper vans may have read social media and are too scared to use it.

    And yet latest studies forecast that if key transport improvements were made to Taranaki’s roading links – including sealing the gorge road – then tourism benefits to Taranaki region could amount to as much as $40 million.

    Over the years there have been numerous investigations into the awful state of SH43. The last was in 2017 when a Taranaki Regional Council-funded report concluded that the Forgotten World Highway desperately needs improvements, including its entire distance being sealed.

    Did anyone take notice of that? Yes and no. In April last year the new Minister for Regional Development, Shane Jones, swept into the region and announced that up to $400,000 of the Government’s flash Provincial Growth Fund was to be spent on – yet another report on the issue.

    He promised the report will be completed by the middle of this year, and he added all this will occur ahead of a possible multi-million upgrade of the highway.

    Oh, really? What’s happened so far is that the New Zealand Transport Agency has engaged a consultancy called Urban Connection Ltd to help develop a single stage business case that would outline potential improvements to the safety and reliability of SH43.

    Despite the fact that at a stakeholders meeting on early February, Taranaki representatives told the NZTA and its consultants that the key to any such improvements is the sealing of the Tangarakau Gorge, the investigation has gone much further than that.

    Instead, it has used the Provincial Growth Fund money to widen the business case investigation so it now includes such ideas as installing solar-powered lighting in the Moki Tunnel ($600,000), ensuring there is mobile phone coverage through the Forgotten World Highway’s entire distance ($1.4m), and replacing an old one-lane bridge near Beaconsfield Rd on the outskirts of Stratford ($3.2m).

    At the same time, the consultants estimate the cost of sealing the Tangarakau Gorge to 5 metre width would be $12 million.

    All this has annoyed both the Taranaki Regional Transport Committee and the region’s Mayoral Forum, who are concerned that what should have been an exercise designed to quickly develop a business case for sealing the Tangarakau Gorge, has instead been fudged into a wider NZTA study into what’s needed for the Forgotten World Highway in its entirety – and which will probably never happen.

    Both organisations are also annoyed that it is now 12 months since Jones made his announcement, and that the final report is still not released. It is understood however that it will be released within days, and that the public will be given three weeks to give its opinion on its contents and recommendations.

    So what will happen then? Will the report and its recommendations allow access to the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund to finally seal that awful stretch of SH43 that remains unsealed 126 years after it was formed? And will Joshua Morgan be able to finally rest in peace?

    #31201
    Eddieb
    Keymaster
    • Bike: Suzuki DR650 ADV
    • Rank: 1200cc Rider

    From stuff.co.nz

    Part of the Forgotten World Highway gets cellphone reception

    The winding roads of eastern Taranaki have always been known for their isolation and lack of cell phone reception – until now.

    A new cell tower installed three kilometres south of Pohokura, inland Taranaki, is now providing coverage along the Forgotten World Highway between Whangamomona and Te Wera.

    The tower, which was installed by the Rural Connectivity Group and Spark, Vodafone, and 2degrees, will also provide wireless broadband to residents, including those along Taniwha Road and Junction Road.

    It is expected there will now be cell phone reception for an 11 kilometre stretch of State Highway 43 – better known as the Forgotten World Highway. Spark’s network lead, Colin Brown, said it was pleased to have been a part of a solution for locals and visitors to the area.

    In a statement from the Rural Connectivity Group, it said the organisation is also working on sites to provide broadband and mobile coverage further along SH43 including Te Wera and Douglas.

    #31691
    Eddieb
    Keymaster
    • Bike: Suzuki DR650 ADV
    • Rank: 1200cc Rider

    stuff.co.nz 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.

    #32013
    Eddieb
    Keymaster
    • Bike: Suzuki DR650 ADV
    • Rank: 1200cc Rider

    R.I.P The Forgotten Highway – Funding has been approved to seal the remaining gravel section. Work will start in mid-2020 and take up to 3 years.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/117866716/future-of-forgotten-world-highway-sealed-with-96m-pgf-investment

    #32069
    Eddieb
    Keymaster
    • Bike: Suzuki DR650 ADV
    • Rank: 1200cc Rider
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