SH2 Tangoio to Tūtira closed to all traffic from today


Waka Kotahi is working closely with Civil Defence and other central and local government partners to minimise the impact of the closure of State Highway 2 between Tangoio and Tūtira to residents and emergency services.

SH2 was significantly damaged between Wairoa and Napier during Cyclone Gabrielle. To the north, access has since been restored between Wairoa and Raupunga, but access south of Raupunga has remained closed to the public. Limited access for emergency services and residents has been available between Napier and Tūtira up until today.

Regional Manager Maintenance and Operations, Jaclyn Hankin, says geotechnical surveys have identified significant slip and rockfall risks in the section between Tangoio and Tūtira, requiring the road to close to all traffic, allowing helicopters to undertake sluicing to dislodge loose soil, boulders, rocks and trees currently at risk of falling on to the road.

Sluicing is a method used to ‘wash away’ loose material like large rocks and wood debris from slip sites that typically overhang the road corridor. Helicopters collect water in large buckets, fly to the site and release the water at the unstable slip sites. Crews then clean-up the material. Work will begin on Saturday (11 March), with road closures in place at Aropaoanui Road and Waikoau Hill from today (Thursday 9 March).

"We know how significant the loss of this access, even temporarily, is for those who live between Tangoio and Tūtira, and we are working closely with Civil Defence and other central and local government partners to ensure the supply of critical resources and to provide support.

"We have not taken the decision to close the road lightly. However, the safety of not only the emergency services and local residents who have been able to use this section of SH2, but also our crews working on this stretch of road, is our highest priority.”

Ms Hankin says while SH2 between Wairoa and Napier is not expected to reopen to the general public for up to three months, the team will be exploring every opportunity available to restore access between Tūtira and Tangoio to emergency services and local residents as soon as it is possible to so safely.

“The damage to this section of state highway has been significant. In addition to the sluicing operation, our contractors are working across eight damaged sites, including two major dropouts, which will need to be repaired before we can safely reopen the road. There are also multiple sites where the soil is unstable and each one of those sites will need further investigation. We have also identified sites where guardrails have been taken out and shoulders have collapsed.

"It's important to understand that even once we are able to restore access to emergency services and residents, there will still be a considerable amount of work that needs to be done to provide safe, reliable access between Wairoa and Napier, including on this section of highway.  

“It is hard going for the people living alongside this stretch of State Highway 2 at the moment and we know how much this state highway connection means to these communities - 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.  

“We appreciate their resilience and patience and want to ensure everyone our focus is on restoring access as soon as can be done so safely to enable essential services and supplies to get through."