Project introduction

The Connecting Tairāwhiti – Passing Opportunities project aims to provide more safe places to pass slow vehicles and more places to pull off the road safely to check messages or take a break on State Highways 2 and 35 across the Tairāwhiti region.

  • Estimated project dates

    Nov 2019–Dec 2023
  • Project type

    Road improvements

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Project overview

We know that the highways in and out of Tairāwhiti are long and winding, and travel through some unforgiving terrain.

Communities and stakeholders have told us about the increasing numbers of slow trucks causing frustration and unsafe behaviour, and the lack of phone reception and safe places to pull over for long stretches. We heard that more passing opportunities and safe places to pull over would help improve the driver experience.

We have worked with the community to identify and prioritise the best locations to add more safe and effective passing opportunities on State Highways 2 and 35.

As part of the Connecting Tairāwhiti programme, funded by the Provincial Growth Fund and National Land Transport Programme, $32 million has been allocated for a package of passing opportunities on State Highway 2 (SH2) and State Highway 35 (SH35).

What is a passing opportunity?

Passing opportunities within the Connecting Tairāwhiti programme include 25 slow vehicle lanes and 10 pull over sites.

A slow vehicle lane is a widened stretch of road on an uphill incline that allows slow, heavy vehicles, such as trucks and buses, to pull over as they slow down – allowing faster vehicles to pass.

A pull over site is where vehicles can get off the road to either let others pass or park to check phone messages or stretch their legs.

Connecting Tairāwhiti project benefits

The Connecting Tairāwhiti programme’s passing opportunities projects aims to reduce driver frustration and improve safety on SH2 and SH35. Some of the other benefits of the Connecting Tairāwhiti programme, including the resilience project, are: 

  • Improved productivity of corridor land, through native plantings and the opportunity for $20K per annum in increased Manuka-derived products.
  • The project will create 21 jobs across the programme over the next 5 years. Based on minimum salary rates, it is estimated the short-term value is $3.56M over the 5-year construction programme.
  • 31 trainee opportunities will be generated.
  • Reductions in travel time reduces 16,691kg (16.69 Tonnes) of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) from being emitted into the atmosphere each year, equating to 668 Tonnes of CO2 over the 40-year assessment period.
  • In addition, 267,362 additional native trees and shrubs will be planted across the project to remove another 55,325 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere over the next 40 years (1.38 tonnes per year on average).
  • Stronger relationships through proactive work with landowners, iwi and hapū groups in both the design and implementation phases of the project.

See also SH35 resilience project

Improving communication across Tairāwhiti

Community engagement for the Connecting Tairāwhiti programme business case also showed the need for mobile phone laybys where people can stop and check their messages safely. These stretches of road are often in mobile phone blackspots, and these stopping areas will create a safe way for people to stay connected where there is reception.

Map of the eleven preliminary mobile phone layby sites

Map of the eleven preliminary mobile phone layby sites

Engaging the community

As the Connecting Tairāwhiti programme is delivered over the two-year programme, we will be keeping the community informed. We’ll be sending information out primarily by e-newsletters, website and Facebook updates so locals, visitors and businesses know how road improvements will impact their journey.

Keep up to date by:

Project partner

Provincial Growth Fund logo

This project is part of the Tairāwhiti roading package, funded by the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF)and the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF).

The Provincial Development Unit’s Provincial Growth Fund has invested $32 million into fully funding this project.

Provincial Growth Fund(external link)
NLTF: Gisborne/Tairāwhiti regional summary