SH35 to close this evening between Ōpōtiki and Gisborne


Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency urges road users to plan ahead if they need to travel on State Highway 35 (SH35) today.

The highway will be closed to through traffic between Ōpōtiki and Gisborne overnight from 7pm tonight, 13 February, to proactively manage the risk posed by Cyclone Gabrielle.

“The cyclone is bringing high winds, huge waves and a lot of rain with her, which puts this vulnerable highway at extreme risk, says Roger Brady, System Manager for the Bay of Plenty.

“There are parts of this coastal highway that are prone to storm surges, slips and flooding. The risk of travelling on this road in these conditions goes up significantly after dark. This isn’t a risk we’re prepared to take,” he says.

SH35 is already closed between Tolaga Bay and Ruatoria, because of flooding.

“With this evening’s planned closure, we’re wanting to give people working away from home as much opportunity to get home before the road closes as possible,” Mr Brady says.

However, road users should avoid all unnecessary travel as more rain is forecast to hit the area in the coming hours.

“Our preference is always to keep the network as open as possible, but our priority is the safety of all road users and our contractors, and for that reason, we sometimes need to take a decision to close a stretch of state highway. Those decisions aren’t taken lightly, and we realise it’s vital to let people know as soon as possible,” says Mr Brady.

“If you must travel before the closure – please drive to the conditions. There’s a strong wind warning in place, and road users need to be extremely careful.

“The road closures will be reassessed from tomorrow morning, and the road may re-open providing it’s safe,” says Mr Brady.

Waka Kotahi thanks all road users for their patience and understanding.

Check the latest weather conditions with MetService, and Waka Kotahi Journey Planner for the most up to date information on road closures.

Journey Planner(external link)

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.