Project introduction

The damage caused to Marlborough roads by weather events in 2021 and 2022 was substantial. The Marlborough Roads Recovery Team was established to repair and restore the network and is the second largest recovery project for local New Zealand roads, surpassed only by the Christchurch Earthquakes.

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About the project

The 17 July 2021 storm caused widespread flooding and damage across the Marlborough region, the scale and complexity of which caused more than 1,600 faults on Marlborough roads.

The storm saw parts of Queen Charlotte Drive, Kenepuru Road and side roads, Northbank, Waihopai Valley and Awatere Valley become impassable and unsafe for road users. Communities were cut-off, causing major disruptions to the lives and safety of many residents, bach owners and businesses.

The immediate emergency response focussed on building lifelines and supporting community welfare. As the recovery work progressed, the focus was on meeting the needs of local residents, property owners and businesses to restore road access – with controls and restrictions in place to ensure the safety of everyone. 

Works had seen the completion of most minor repairs, while design was completed on complex faults.

In August 2022, the further weather event was again unprecedented for the region, with over twice the scale of damage than the previous year. Over 670km of Marlborough’s roads received damage in the storm, with over 4,000 faults identified as of 24 November 2022. The team continue to work hard to repair and restore the roading network.

Rai River experienced its biggest flood on record, estimated as a 60-year event. Communities in Canvastown and Rai Valley were cut off from Marlborough and Nelson with both State Highway 6 and State Highway 63 closed for a period. Access in and out of the Marlborough Sounds was also adversely affected.

Following the event, focus returned to emergency response to regain access to cut off communities. By mid-November 2022, over 600km of road have been returned to public access, with approximately 70km of road with restrictions in place. The focus is currently to improve access to Marlborough sounds while design is completed on priority sites. Much of the improved access works are concentrated along Kenepuru Road, of which a large section remains restricted to residents and emergency services only. 

The Marlborough Roads Recovery Team is a joint venture between Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Marlborough District Council, Marlborough Roads, Fulton Hogan and HEB Construction.

A year on from the July 2021 storm: Restoring Marlborough’s roads, and reconnecting its communities

Get in touch

For more information

Phone: 03 520 8024 or 0800 213 213, Monday to Friday, 8am–5pm

Marlborough Roads partners: Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Marlborough Roads District Council, HEB Construction, Fulton Hogan