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Strengthening vital access the best way forward

Nuhaka Opoutama

While strengthening and protecting the existing Nuhaka-Opoutama road has been selected as the best way forward, the rehabilitation project is dependent on receiving additional Government funding.

The coastal road has been severely affected by erosion with the biggest earth movement at the ‘blowhole’ slip which has reduced the road to a single lane.

In February, Wairoa received $300,000, through the Provincial Growth Fund, to support investigations into all the options for access into the Peninsula.

The 11.3km sealed road includes over 1.7km of fragile eroding coastline along Black’s Beach.

Over the past five-months an assessment of the options has been ongoing and included the consideration of seven alternative routes to ensure certainty of access.

Wairoa District Council chief executive Steven May said the existing alignment presents the best value for money, while also offering the greatest benefits and least risks to the community.

The existing route rehabilitation option is expected to cost around $8.5 million and the Wairoa District Council has applied to the Provincial Growth Fund to have the project funded.

Mr May said the Coalition Government has been very generous to Wairoa and the success of the application is not being taken for granted.

“We are hopeful that through the Provincial Growth Fund we can receive support for this vital project and will await the outcome.

“We need to provide a resilient route that provides reliable connectivity and access for our communities, visitors and businesses now and into the future.”

The investigation included assessing all relevant options to realign the road including designs, consultation, and Geotech reports.

Mr May said the assessment has been robust and has included strengthening the current alignment including a minor retreat, alternative inland routes to bypass the Black’s Beach coastal section and upgrading the Tunanui Road.

“Criteria included reduced vulnerability, increased resilience and route security to support economic development balanced against value for money through reduced reactive maintenance and emergency works.

“We are now working on refining a short list of options in the blowhole area and hope to complete the investigations and recommendations by the end of this month.”

Affected landowners and stakeholders have been consulted with and additional feedback is welcomed over the next couple of weeks.

Any inquiries or feedback should be directed to Council’s Transport Asset Manager Mike Hardie by emailing

The final recommendations will form part of a business case that provides sufficient detail to assess future funding options.

Providing a resilient and future proofed access route into the Mahia Peninsula is the driver of a Provincial Growth Fund application by the Wairoa District Council.

19 August 2020

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