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Waikare Gorge realignment and new bridge

Waikare Gorge

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has reached a major milestone in its work to strengthen the resilience of State Highway 2, with resource consent for a new Waikare Gorge bridge now lodged.

The project will see a new 160-metre bridge built across the Waikare Gorge and a 3.9km road realignment. The proposal will see six kilometres of the existing State Highway 2 bypassed, including the slip- and rockfall-prone Waikare Gorge.

Waka Kotahi has acknowledged the devastation caused by the cyclone and the destruction of the gorge bridge has shown just how crucial the realignment project is to making this section of the road resilient, safer and with more consistent travel times.

The Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency project team has had several discussions and meetings with landowners, key stakeholders and iwi partners to gather their views. An arch bridge construction (pictured) has been identified as the preferred bridge option. This type of structure will allow the bridge to be built without impacting the river or the gorge itself.

The resource consent has been submitted to Hawke’s Bay Regional Council. Once design and consent have been completed, the project will be considered for construction funding.

The project was being worked on before the cyclone, and funding to date has come as part of the Provincial Growth Fund, first announced in 2020. Progress has been made possible largely thanks to the continued support from local communities.

The past three months have shown that whenever this section of SH2 is closed, for whatever reason, the impact on Wairoa and Hawke’s Bay is huge. Even before the cyclone, this area has been prone to slips and rockfall, so a safer and more resilient journey over the gorge should help with more consistent and reliable journeys.

25 May 2023

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