A large slip of about 10,000 cubic metres of dirt, rock and boulders has fallen at the Ashhurst end of Manawatu Gorge.
The slip is likely to have come down during the heavy rain over the weekend and was discovered by contractors yesterday morning, says NZ Transport Agency regional transport systems manager Ross I’Anson.
The gorge has been closed to all traffic since late April.
The new slip site is about 500m from the locked gate at the Ashhurst end of the State highway 3 road, and was therefore not accessible to vehicles.
Mr I’Anson says the latest slip demonstrates the gorge’s current instability.
“This illustrates how prone the gorge currently is to slips due to the substantial movement recently measured in the hillside,” he said.
“The area is highly unstable and the Transport Agency is warning people to stay away from the slip site and not to proceed beyond the locked gate at the entrances to the gorge.”
Geotechnical engineers will review the new slip and hillside above the slip.
Mr I’Anson said two public meetings last week raised important issues about the gorge’s closure and NZTA was working on solutions to those. NZN