There has been a major setback for Manawatu and Tararua residents with State Highway Three through the Manawatu Gorge once again fully closed.
Heavy rain in the area resulted in the temporary road which was being used as a passage through the gorge for the past five weeks now completely washed away.
"Obviously we were hoping that we didn't get the rain whilst we were still relying on that temporary road but unfortunately the rain has come," said David McGonigal, state highway manager for the New Zealand Transport Authority.
The gorge was closed after the rain caused the river level to rise seven metres higher than usual, causing significant erosion to a temporary road.
A section of State Highway 56 where the road crosses the Manawatu River is also closed.
The Transport Agency says it could be up to seven weeks before traffic is allowed through the gorge.
McGonigal said crews would not repair the temporary road installed after landslips caused severe damage to bridges late last year.
Crews will instead focus on repairing the damaged bridges as soon as possible.
"We're working hard to build the one side of the bridge so that once we've got that one side open there will be a route through," said McGonigal.
NZTA is advising motorists to use the Saddle Road or Pahiatua Track as an alternative route.
A diversion is expected to remain in place for at least a day as river water levels continue to rise.
Find out the latest road updates here