Government green-lights $620m new Manawatu Gorge highway

The Government has given the green light for a $620 million route to replace the Manawatu Gorge highway.

The old road through the gorge has been plagued with problems and was closed permanently after a major landslip in 2017.

It's been two years of uncertainty for Ashurst. It became a major Manawatu thoroughfare when the highway through the gorge was forced to close. But there's finally some good news as a new road is on its way.

It'll run from the western entry of the now-closed State Highway 3, over the Ruahine Range and reconnect to SH3 at Woodville. The NZTA has committed $100 million to help make it possible.

Work is expected to start next year and be completed by 2024. Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter says it will deliver a much needed economic boost to the region.

National's previously hit out at the Government for not spending enough on transport. Genter says the commitment to this highway says otherwise.

Communities on both sides of the Gorge have been hit hard by the closure. Businesses in Woodville have struggled with the loss of traffic and Tararua mayor Tracey Collis told Newshub Tuesday's announcement is a real relief.