For Gisborne’s economy to grow and for people to access essential health, education and employment opportunities, investment in the land transport system through the 2021–24 NLTP will support improved access and resilience of the road network.
The region’s relative isolation means businesses and communities rely on having access to safe, reliable transport to get their goods to domestic and international markets and to access basic services. SH2 through the Waioeka Gorge is one of these critical routes and a business case is currently being completed to look at how to improve resilience at the high risk sites along this route which is vulnerable to slips and rockfall. Work is expected to get underway on these improvements in this NLTP.
The topography of Gisborne – a hilly, mountainous interior, low-lying river plains and coastal flats – makes the region prone to erosion and slips. It is also vulnerable to the impact of climate change and extreme weather events. Through this NLTP, we will continue to deliver the SH35 resilience project to strengthen and stabilise ‘hot spots’ along the coast. This will include building retaining walls and rock revetments, as well as native planting programmes to help stabilise slopes and roadsides.
There will also be a focus on improving Gisborne’s poor safety record. The region has a high number of crashes involving drink driving, people not wearing seatbelts and cyclists. A high proportion of drivers are unlicensed. Driver behaviour change will address drug and alcohol impairment and speeding.
Safety improvements across the region will be:
Following last year’s speed review along SH35 which resulted in speed limit changes from Gisborne to Te Puia Springs, we have completed a review from Te Puia Springs to Tokomaru Bay township. A further speed review is planned from Te Puia Springs to Ōpōtiki. As part of this process, infrastructure improvements, such as speed limit signage, traffic calming measures and line marking changes, are also completed.
A number of safety improvements will be made across the region to both local roads and state highways, including intersection improvements, installation of rumble strips, improved signage and shoulder widening to support cycling.
As part of the Tairāwhiti Roading package announced in 2018, more than 20 additional passing opportunities, including slow vehicle bays and mobile phone laybys, will be built at a cost of $35.5 million along SH2 and SH35. Driver frustrations with the slower speeds of heavy freight using these highways has resulted in risky overtaking. This package is being funded through the NLTF and the Provincial Growth Fund. These are programmed to be delivered by the end of 2022.
In this NLTP, we’ll be investing $3 million to maintain and develop Gisborne city’s public transport network, with funding for an improved ticketing system, and a strategic review of the city’s public transport system.
Through the Tairāwhiti Roading Package, $13.5 million is being spent to improve the reliability and resilience of SH35 at 20 sites. The work includes structural engineering and native planting.
We’ll invest in safety and resilience improvements through SH2 Waioeka Gorge, a key freight route for Gisborne.
Gisborne is home to a growing number of primary industries that require reliable access to markets. The region’s HPMV network is incomplete, particularly when compared with the remainder of the Upper North Island. Under the Tairāwhiti Roading Package, $4m has been invested in opening up the SH2 route from Napier to Ōpōtiki to HMPVs. Work continues on strengthening six bridges in the Waioeka Gorge, all of which will be completed by the end of 2022.
Through the Rail Network Investment Programme, resilience works will be carried out on the Palmerston North to Gisborne Line to support freight connections. The Ormondville Viaduct will be strengthened, 12kms of track will be re-sleepered and track and civil infrastructure works carried out to reduce derailment risks and improve formation and drainage.