The New Zealand Transport Agency has confirmed that upgrades to State Highway 43, the Forgotten Highway, are well underway as the country moves out of lockdown.
The New Zealand Transport Agency has confirmed that the picturesque SH43 – also known as The Forgotten World Highway – is about to undergo serious safety improvements following the country's release from Covid-19 lockdown.
In February the Government’s announcement of $13.4 million in funding from the NZ Upgrade Programme for further improvements to the Forgotten World Highway.
Improvements for SH43 – which runs from Taumaranui in the Waikato to Stratford in Taranaki – include new signage, passing opportunities and safety barriers, as well as road markings, slow vehicle bays and improvements to the Moki Tunnel.
Funding was also committed for replacing culverts in two locations along the route and development of a preventative maintenance strategy.
In a release sent out on May 26th, NZTA stated: "We are currently working through investigations and designs for this work and expect to be able to provide an update on timings and when construction could start in the coming months.
A total of $23m is now being invested in the Forgotten World Highway to make the road safer and more accessible for locals and visitors."
While actual work on the highway, and around the country for that matter, was halted during the lockdown, NZTA continued to work on the completion to the design for sealing the Tangarakau Gorge, a section of roughly 12km of gravel road in the middle of the Forgotten World Highway, with estimated starting of work to seal the gorge expected to start in the second half of this year.
The plan to seal the gorge calls for the delivery of the sealing project in two stages to reduce the impact on traffic through the narrow section of SH43. First, work will start on the 2km section at the southern end of the gorge, with the remaining sealing work for the other 10km next year. The entire project is expected to take up to two years to complete, NZTA says.
In addition to sealing the road, NZTA will also install roadside safety barriers in high-risk areas and signage advising drivers of upcoming hazards and safe travelling speeds on the road which is frequented by motorcyclists, locals and tourists in campervans alike.
The Forgotten World Highway is one of the scenic gems of the North Island, and while some out there hate the idea of riding on gravel, the last opportunity to experience this rustic ride in its rugged beauty is fast approaching.