Transport Minister, Michael Wood has visited the flood-affected Tairāwhiti region to view progress on the restoration of vital connections for the area’s isolated communities.
“The Government recognises how much the people who live and work in our regional and remote Tairāwhiti communities rely on the access State Highway 35 provides for essential supplies and services. It’s been great to see first-hand today the many people involved in the work to restore these critical links,” Minister Wood said.
“Earlier this week there were nearly 120 people involved in the repair and clean-up work on Tairāwhiti’s state highways, ranging from traffic management and arborists to those operating excavators, graders and diggers. I know this number has grown throughout the week as resource has been brought in from other areas.
“I’d like to say a special thanks to all the contractors who have been working day and night, in some pretty trying conditions, to help keep these communities moving.”
The Minister was joined by local Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP, Hon. Meka Whaitiri, alongside Mayor, Rehette Stoltz and representatives from Ngati Porou for a blessing of the Managhauini Bridge before it opened for light traffic.
The bridge was closed 10 days ago after an abutment was washed out, leaving a gap of approximately 16 metres in the road.
“This restores valuable local access for the Tokomaru Bay community north and south of the bridge, including for students of local primary school Hatea-A-Rangi who live north of the bridge, and for those who live south of the bridge and attend Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Tokomaru. It also provides those living north of the bridge access to essential services and supplies further afield in Gisborne.”
“Crews have worked tirelessly to install well in excess of 4000T of rock to form the base for the new bridge support and allow for the bridge approach to be reinstated.”
The Minister was shown some of the most significantly impacted areas on SH35 and across the Gisborne region.
“Getting my boots on the ground today and being able to see not only the impacts of the storm, but also the good work happening and the resilience and community spirit of the Tairāwhiti people has been invaluable,” said Mr Wood.
“I will continue to work closely with Waka Kotahi to ensure we can achieve what needs to be done to have the people of Tairāwhiti moving freely and safely through there region again, as soon as possible.”