Motorists are now using the State Highway 35 Busby’s Hill Realignment, a $5.7m project being built by the NZ Transport Agency following a month-long highway closure last year.
The 1.3km upgrade is expected to be completed by late May, weather permitting, giving motorists the security of a finished and sealed realignment to replace the vulnerable stretch of highway that cut off the East Cape community last July.
Last year’s closure was caused by severe subsidence just south of Tokomaru Bay, resulting in an entire month of disruption for the East Cape community and the trucking industry.
“We’re thrilled with the quick turnaround of this project, and we look forward to having it finished in time for winter,” says NZTA Acting State Highway Manager Gordon Hart.
“We continue to place a high importance on route security of SH35, and this project should give considerable piece of mind for everyone who was affected by last July’s closure.
“It’s great to have a project of this size conceived and built so quickly, and it’s thanks to the support and cooperation of the East Coast community, the Gisborne District Council, landowners, local iwi ,and everything else who has made it possible for us to make such excellent progress.
“We’d particularly like to thank our consultants Opus International Consultants, and our contractors Fulton Hogan and J R Earthworks, for their commitment to the project.”
While the major earthworks of the project are complete and the road is open to motorists, other work such as road metalling and sealing and land restoration still remain.
The NZTA expects to formally commemorate the completion of the project in late May with a blessing and tree planting.