Weeks of hard mahi from roading contractors in Tairāwhiti will reconnect part of the region with the opening of a new Mangahauini track.
The new track will be opened at a blessing onsite on Monday 3rd April and the road will be open to the public from early afternoon.
Cyclone Gabrielle wiped out Hikuwai Bridge No.1 on SH35 and caused slips and river erosion through the Mangahauini Gorge, meaning that sections of SH35 have been impassable, cutting Tokomaru Bay off to the south and north.
As soon as the cyclone had cleared, roading crews got to work in the Mangahauini Gorge, on Waka Kotahi land adjacent to SH35, carving out the beginnings of the temporary bypass track.
Waka Kotahi Central North Island Regional Manager of Maintenance and Operations, Jaclyn Hankin, says it’s understandably been an incredibly stressful time for communities isolated and separated from one another.
“We fully support our contractors in what has truly been an example of hard mahi and a pro-active, innovative effort to help re-connect communities in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle.
“It’s only fitting we recognise the drive of our contractors to get started on this access route in hugely challenging circumstances as we continue to re-connect SH35 and its communities.
“Together with the community-led bypass for the Hikuwai Bridge further south, the new track will mean residents and road users, who haven’t been able to travel south to Gisborne, will soon be able to make the journey there. We acknowledge that this will be a huge relief to those communities who have been isolated along SH35, and we thank them for their patience and resilience. It is a testament to all the hard mahi from contractors involved.
“What we have achieved to date could not have been possible without the support of the local communities and contractors, and this is something we are extremely grateful for,” says Ms Hankin.