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Mokau road closed two more days

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 19/09/2016

The risk of further slips means the main road between Taranaki and Waikato will remain closed until at least Wednesday.

A rockfall closed State Highway 3 south of Mokau on Sunday morning following heavy rain and on Monday the New Zealand Transport Agency said it would stay closed for the next couple of days.

The recommended detour, via SH1 or SH4, adds about three-and-a-half hours to the journey.

Other detours were not considered appropriate. SH43, which was also closed by slips over the weekend, was not suitable for large volumes of traffic while a route via Ohura was not suited to those unfamiliar with the road or for heavy vehicles.

SH3 at Mokau had not had a major slip since 2012, says the agency's Karen Boyt.

"The make-up of these cliffs mean that they are prone to rock falls and slips, and we have previously put in place wire mesh over the cliff face, and concrete barriers at the bottom of the cliff to help prevent material falling on to the road.

"We are working hard to get this section open again as soon as it is safe," said the agency's Karen Boyt.

"We understand that it is frustrating and inconvenient to have this important route blocked, and we appreciate everyone's patience."

A drone has been used to examine the area and a helicopter will sluice the cliff face with water to remove loose material from the cliff, Ms Boyt said.

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