Efforts to re-open the Manawatu Gorge have been frustrated following another massive slip on Monday night.
Dramatic photos of the landslide were released to media after confirmation that torrential rainfall forced 20,000cu m of new material to fall at the same site contractors had been working to clear for several weeks.
``It's just what we didn't need,'' Tararua Mayor Roly Ellis said. ``It's been closed roughly 60 days now, so people are getting quite frustrated.''
Some Woodville businesses had been affected more than others, he said. ``It depends on the nature of the businesses. Caltex petrol station has been hit pretty hard but there are certain shops that aren't doing so badly because residents tend to shop locally now rather than travel out of town.''
A ``proper plan'' was to be hatched after a pending meeting with NZTA, he said.
``We're trying very hard to sort this out. There have been many expensive theories put forward for the gorge but they're all way out of the league.''
Instead, he favoured upgrading the Saddle Rd bypass, which had been ``thrashed'' in recent weeks. ``The productivity between Palmerston North and the Port of Napier is crucial and I think adding a few passing bays and other alterations will make this [Saddle] road much more useable.''
The NZ Transport Agency regional state highways manager David McGonigal said it was too early to say what impact the latest slip would have on the timeline for re-opening the road.
``We appreciate that people are frustrated about the length of this closure, and so are we,'' Mr McGonigal said.