Plan in place to open SH2 Gisborne to Ōpōtiki from Tuesday


State Highway 2 between Gisborne and Ōpōtiki will reopen for day-time travel under stop/go traffic management from next Tuesday.

The stretch of highway between Matawai and Ormond sustained significant damage as a result of the weekend’s heavy rainfall with slips, debris and movement in the road.

Since the weekend, sections of the road have dropped up to one metre.

Waka Kotahi Central North Island Regional Manager of Maintenance and Operations Jaclyn Hankin says the movement in the area has been the biggest concern.

“Geotech engineers have been on site regularly to inspect damage as the wet weather has led to more slips and further movement in the road at Otoko Hill.

“This is a crucial connection for road users, including freight, into and out of Gisborne. Our crews have been working as quickly as they can do so safely to get the road open from Tuesday. Between now and Tuesday, contractors will carry out final safety checks and work to make sure the road is safe and can withstand traffic demands.

“We have had a significant amount of rain and the area has continued to move, making the fix difficult up until now.

“Our crews have installed more drainage to divert water away from the road and relieve pressure, before using rocks and geotech stabilising material to backfill the drops and build the road up again.

“When the road reopens on Tuesday, it will look very different to the way it has done, even in the months since Cyclone Gabrielle. The stop/go traffic controls will be crucial to help keep everyone safe and road users driving through the area will be piloted through by our contractor, at a lower temporary speed of 30km/h,” says Ms Hankin.

“Contractors will still be working in a number of places along SH2 clearing debris and stablilising slips, so road users are reminded to be careful when driving the road, drive to the conditions and expect delays.

“Our priority this week has been to get key transport links up and running again as quickly as possible. We know there’s a lot still to do and we can’t thank communities and road users enough for their patience, support and understanding.”