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State Highway 35 to close between Tolaga Bay and Potaka

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UPDATE 2, 9.30pm Wed 13 April: State Highway 35 is now closed all the way from Okitu, north of Gisborne, through to Potaka, due to fallen trees between Gisborne and Tolaga Bay. The road closure will be reviewed tomorrow morning and an update provided.

UPDATE 1, 7pm Wed 13 April: State Highway 38 is now closed at the intersection with Pakowhai Road in Frasertown, near Wairoa.

5:35pm: With heavy rain and strong winds forecast to continue in the Tairāwhiti region overnight and into tomorrow, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has made the decision to close State Highway 35 between Tolaga Bay and Potaka from 8pm tonight (Wednesday 13 April).

National Journey Manager Helen Harris says the safety of both the traveling public and roading contractors is the highest priority for Waka Kotahi.

“We have already seen flooding close sections of State Highway 35 between Hicks Bay and Te Araroa and Te Puia Springs and Tokomaru Bay.

“The ground is still saturated from last month’s significant weather event, leaving SH35 vulnerable to slips and flooding, as well as downed trees and branches, particularly when combined with the high winds.

“The road is still down to single lane only in some places, with sections of unsealed road, signs, cones and temporary speed limits.

“We’re not willing to take a chance with anyone’s safety so have made the decision to close the road tonight, and encourage everyone to stay home, stay warm, stay dry, and stay safe.”

The road closure will be reviewed tomorrow morning and an update provided.

In Hawke’s Bay, contractors will continue to monitor the state highway network around Wairoa, where heavy rain and high winds are also forecast, and also State Highway 5 between Napier and Taupo, which is forecast for high winds.

We may need to close these roads if it becomes unsafe to keep them open,” Ms Harris says.

Some of the fallen trees on State Highway 35.

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