A vital transport link for communities and local businesses has been restored post-Cyclone Gabrielle with the reopening of State Highway 5 (SH5) between Napier and Taupō today.
SH5 reopened to all traffic between 7am and 7pm from today, with closure points at SH2 (Kaimata Road), Glengarry Road and Matea Road overnight.
“State Highway 5 is a critical access point into Hawke’s Bay and the Government welcomes the news it is open to all traffic during daylight hours,” said Associate Minister of Transport, Kiri Allan.
“Restoring this connection is a milestone for the region following the devastating impact of Cyclone Gabrielle, and a critical step to provide resilient and safe connections for local businesses in the farming, horticulture and tourism industries.
“It will also reconnect friends and whānau and make it easier and faster for people to access essential goods and services, such as food and healthcare, get their kids to school, return to work and run their businesses.”
The reopening of SH5 follows the successful running of freight convoys last week and means people will again be able to drive directly between Napier and Taupō.
This journey usually takes 1 hour 40 minutes but the detour route that had been in place can take up to five hours, with drivers forced to travel south as far as Woodville, near Palmerston North, before heading back up the island for around 250km to get to Taupō.
“I’d like to acknowledge the efforts of everyone involved in the reopening of State Highway 5, in particular the roading contractors who have been working hard at both the Napier and Taupō ends of the highway to ensure the road is safe for everyone who relies on this critical connection,” Ms Allan said.
She said contractors were still working on a number of damaged sites on the road and temporary speed restrictions and other traffic management measures will be in place.