Limitoo News

Highway between Tokomaru Bay and Te Puia Springs reopens

The final section of State Highway 35 in Tairāwhiti, north of Gisborne, that was closed by last month's severe weather event reopens to all traffic tomorrow.

Motorists will have to pass through this drop out along the Mangahauini Gorge if travelling between Tokomaru Bay and Te Puia Springs. This area will be controlled by traffic lights.
Motorists will have to pass through this drop out along the Mangahauini Gorge if travelling between Tokomaru Bay and Te Puia Springs. This area will be controlled by traffic lights. Photo: Supplied / Waka Kotahi

The road between Tokomaru Bay and Te Puia Springs has been closed for more than two weeks since 23 March.

It will remain closed overnight, with manned checkpoints in place for at least two weeks. It will only be open from 7am to 7pm.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency national journey manager Helen Harris said being able to reopen this soon after the weather event was phenomenal and a real credit to the crews involved in the repair.

"This section of SH35 has seen significant damage to the road, including major cracks and uneven surfaces, slumping and two major drop outs," she said.

"We know how much it means to the local community to have this stretch of road reopened and our contractors, many of whom live locally, have worked tirelessly in some difficult conditions to get it to a stage where we can safely allow access during daylight hours.

"Some of our contractors suffered damage and losses of their own due to the weather event, and left that behind to help out the rest of the community by working to repair the road and restore connections. The commitment and spirit shown by these guys has just been incredible.

"The road is still down to single lane only in some places, with sections of unsealed road, signs, cones and temporary speed limits, and is likely to be like this for some time."

The crack along the Mangahauini Gorge area has been filled in and levelled, but the road remains unsealed.
The crack along the Mangahauini Gorge area has been filled in and levelled, but the road remains unsealed. Photo: Supplied / Waka Kotahi

Some of the road, especially around the Mangahauini Gorge, is still seriously damaged.

Waka Kotahi is advising that people should allow extra time for their journeys if travelling this route, with four sets of traffic lights and priority give ways at various locations likely to cause some delays.

"While the road has reopened, the work is far from done. It is still very much an active work zone as our contractors continue to repair this vital connection for the people of Tairāwhiti.

"We ask people to avoid unnecessary travel through the area to provide contractors with the best opportunity to carry out the repairs as safely and efficiently as possible."

The bridge along the highway at Tokomaru Bay was ripped in half, leaving a 16-metre gap, but reopened last weekend.

source: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/464839/highway-between-tokomaru-bay-and-te-puia-springs-reopens