The week ahead in Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay


Restoring further state highway access is the priority this week for roading crews around Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti.

SH5 between Napier and Taupō has now opened today (from 7am) to all traffic during daylight hours.

The crucial link will be open between 7am and 7pm daily, with night time closure points at SH2 (Kaimata Road), Glengarry Road and Matea Road.

Last Tuesday, the first freight convoy between Taupō and Napier took place, following work by contractors to establish a bypass around the slip between Te Pohue and Glengarry.

Freight continues with regular traffic from today.

Waka Kotahi’s Central North Island Regional Manager of Maintenance and Operations, Jaclyn Hankin says while the road is safe to drive, there are still 32 damaged sites along the route, so motorists should parepare for lower speeds in a number of places which will lead to delays.

“This route is a crucial link, last week’s freight convoys were encouraging and now it’s pleasing to be able to open the road more widely, during daylight hours.”

On SH2, access was restored last week south of Wairoa to the northern side of the Waikari River. Access further south between Tangoio and Putorino hit a milestone last week with stock convoys running for two days, and limited access established for residents. However, this section remains closed for other traffic due to the significant damage and the number or large slips and risk of rockfall.

“Waikari River remains impassable, however establishing a safe replacement for the bridge has been, and continues to be, a top priority for us. This is a key connection for our communities, as well as being a critical freight link, and restoring complete access between Napier and Wairoa is our ultimate goal.

“The design work has been completed for the Bailey Bridge replacement and the process will begin this week for site works and preparation for Bailey Bridge installation.”

SH38 between Wairoa and Tuai remains open and contractors will continue this week on the installation of safety barriers and more slip removal work is planned.

“Safety for all road users and contractors is a priority and this stretch of road has suffered significant damage, with numerous slips making the area hazardous.

In Tairawhiti, a stretch of SH35 between Te Puia Springs and Tolaga Bay remains closed, however the alternative Gisborne District Council road Ihungia-Mata Loop Road between Te Puia Springs and Tokomaru Bay remains open and will continue to be available at set times and days for 4WD vehicles only and smaller supply trucks. Please check the council website for details.

Contractors are continuing to assess this stretch of SH35, which has also suffered significant damage, and work is underway to make this stretch of road safe as quickly as possible before it’s reopened to road users.

“It’s been another busy week for our roading contractors, who continue to work to quickly and safely open up key parts of our state highway network.

“We’re really excited to be able to open SH5 to all road users during daylight hours. This is a significant milestone for us, and it wouldn't have been possible to get to this point as quickly as we have without the support of so many people and organisations. In particular, the patience and resilience of those who live alongside SH5 between Napier and Taupō has been incredible and we're just really thrilled to be able to reopen the road for them.

“Along with all the planned work this week, we will continue to closely monitor the reopening of SH5 to gauge the impact the reopening has on the network.”

“Thank you to all road users for their patience, understanding and cooperation,” says Ms Hankin.