A number of cyclone-affected communities in Tairāwhiti have been reconnected with the opening of a temporary bypass on State Highway 35 north of Tokomaru Bay, Associate Transport Minister, Kiri Allan announced today.
The Mangahauini track opened to the public this afternoon, following weeks of hard work by roading contractors in Tairāwhiti.
“This is another important milestone as the East Coast continues its recovery from Cyclone Gabrielle,” Minister Allan says.
“The opening of the Mangahauini Track means people in Tokomaru Bay and all communities from Te Puia Springs north, including Hicks Bay, Tikitiki and Ruatoria, will have much faster and easier access to Gisborne.
The Minister said a journey of 5+ hours north from Te Puia Springs via SH35 and SH2 will now take just two hours travelling south down SH35, or three and a half hours using local roads.
“I’d like to acknowledge the hard work of everyone involved in getting this bypass open so quickly, in particular the roading crews who started working in the Mangahauini gorge as soon as the cyclone had cleared,” she said.
The Mangahauini Track follows the opening of the Porou Road track – a community-led bypass north of Tolaga Bay, last week, after the Hikuwai No.1 Bridge was washed out by the cyclone.
“It’s been a really tough few months for our communities who have been dealing with the aftermath of both Cyclone Hale and Cyclone Gabrielle.”
“These bypasses mean local residents and road users who have been isolated will finally be able to travel south to Gisborne and around the coast from Ōpōtiki all the way to Gisborne and vice versa,” said Minister Allan.