Progress is continuing on state highways across the northern Hawke’s Bay, with two key connections for people living in the Wairoa area reopened in the past 24 hours.
Regional Manager Maintenance and Operations Jaclyn Hankin says following geotechnical assessments, State Highway 38 was reopened between Wairoa and Frasertown yesterday, for the first time since Cyclone Gabrielle, while State Highway 2 reopened between Wairoa and Raupunga this morning.
“Geotechnical specialists will assess the rest of State Highway 38 over the course of this week, with the aim being to reopen as far as Tuai later this week or early next week. They’ll also be looking at SH2 from Raupunga to Putorino, with a view to reopening this section as well.
“We know how tough it’s been for people in the Wairoa area, and how difficult it continues to be. We’re working alongside our contractors to pull out all the stops to restore as many of these connections for them, as quickly as we can do so safely.
“Both SH38 and, in particular, SH2 were significantly impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle. While we’ve worked hard to restore access in these locations, people shouldn’t expect the road to look as it did prior to the cyclone. Temporary traffic management, including temporary speed limits and single lane access, will be in place at various locations and we’re asking people to please take care.”
Hankin says Waikare River bridge was lost at Putorino, and significant works are needed at Devil’s Elbow on SH2. It’s likely to take several months before the road between Wairoa and Napier can be opened to traffic safely.
A locked gate will be installed at the top of the Mohaka Hill on SH2 to prevent people accessing the Waikare Gorge.
Hankin asks everyone to please adhere to road closures and other traffic management, and to follow the directions of crews on the ground.
“We’re working incredibly hard to restore access but safety remains our top priority. Where roads are closed, it’s to help keep both the traveling public and the crews who are working on these sections of the state highway safe. It also helps us to get the work done more efficiently, ultimately restoring access faster.”