Wanganui District Council hopes funding to seal the last stretch of the Whanganui River Rd will be signed off next month.
An 11.7km section between Ranana and Pipiriki is all that remains to be sealed in a project that will eventually cover 33km of the historic highway.
Engineers have estimated the last section will cost $3.5 million with the NZ Transport Agency funding $2.8 million. The remaining $700,000 will be shared equally by both Wanganui and Ruapehu district councils.
Work started on the widening and sealing project in the 2006-7 summer.
The Wanganui council has made a formal request to NZTA for continued financial support and roading manager Rui Leitoa said they expected to get a response from NZTA later next month.
At the latest infrastructure and property committee meeting, councillor Sue Westwood asked if the current reinstatement of the Manawatu Gorge highway would have any impact on the River Rd project. But council chief executive Kevin Ross said while NZTA was under pressure for a variety of roading works to be completed, this sealing request did not fall into the same category as the state highway reinstatement through the gorge.
If the agency approves the funding, it will be among the work getting top priority in the Horizons region's transport spend for the next three years.
Wanganui and Ruapehu district councils have already set aside money to pay for their share of sealing the remaining 11.7km. The project was planned to take place only during the summer months and to happen in stages over about eight years.
A total cost of $7.5 million was estimated in 2005, but that was revised upwards to $13 million. The Pipiriki-to-SH3 stretch is now part of the cycleway, and users complained of difficulties on the unsealed section. Campervan numbers have also increased since seal was extended.