State Highway 50 has now reopened, restoring another key connection for Hawke's Bay communities following the damage caused by Cyclone Gabrielle last week.
Regional Manager Maintenance and Operations Jaclyn Hankin says the road had been closed due to flooding, debris removal and bridge inspections and repairs but engineers and contractors have worked tirelessly to enable it to reopen.
"We also want to acknowledge the incredible patience the people of Hawke's Bay are showing as we work incredibly hard to restore connections like SH50. We know how much these connections mean to the community, to access necessary services, such as food and healthcare, to get kids to school, to run businesses and to stay in touch with friends and whānau, and we're working incredibly hard to restore them as soon as we can do so safely."
Ms Hankin says there may be temporary speed restrictions in place and other changes to the road environment, particularly with the rain currently impacting the region, and asks people to take care, drive to the conditions, obey temporary speed limits and follow the directions of traffic manageemnt staff and signs, to help keep everyone safe.
"Please respect our crews on the ground, drive to the conditions and follow all signage. Only travel if you need to, sightseeing trips on the network to see flood damaged areas hamper crews and create unnecessary traffic on the network slowing down our progress."
State Highway 51, which had be open to emergency services and critical workers only, has also reopened to the public, with Waitangi bridge still down to a single lane wtih a temporary speed limit in place. Significant delays are expected on this route.
Please note this information can change rapidly – ensure you check the latest weather conditions with MetService, and consult the Waka Kotahi Journey Planner website (journeys.nzta.govt.nz(external link))for the most up to date information on road closures.
For those who are unable to access the internet at this stage, please keep tuned tro local radio for the latest Civil Defence advice. Local programmes are on The Breeze 97.5 and The Hits 89.5 and Civil Defence information on Newstalk ZB 96.7.
Journey Planner is updated 24/7 by Waka Kotahi traffic operations centres and is the best source of the most recent and reliable information available on state highway closures and disruptions. Remember to refresh the page when checking the status of highways to ensure that the latest updates are displayed.