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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

As heavy rainfall continues in Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti, State Highway 5 Napier – Taupō Road will close from 5pm today.

The decision has been taken following more persistent rainfall, which has opened up large potholes, and caused slips and debris in a number of areas on the road.

A heavy rain warning remains in place for Hawke’s Bay until later this evening and until midday tomorrow for Tairāwhiti.

As at 4.30pm:

State Highway 35 Gisborne to Ruatoria CLOSED

State Highway 2 Matawai to Ormond CLOSED

State Highway 50 Tikokino to Ongaonga  CLOSED

State Highway 5 Napier – Taupō Road to CLOSE at 5pm

State Highway 2 Wairoa to Napier OPEN

State Highway 2 Wairoa to Gisborne OPEN

Waka Kotahi Regional Manager of Maintenance and Operations Jaclyn Hankin says SH5 is a crucial part of the network for freight to and from Hawke’s Bay.

“The decision to close the road overnight, between the usual gate closure points at either end, hasn’t been taken lightly. SH5, like many other parts of our network, has seen large volumes of rain, causing slips and numerous large potholes to open up.

“The safety of all road users is always our top priority. The closure will also enable crews to work tonight on some repair work, before other repair work takes place from early tomorrow.

“At this stage, we anticipate being able to open the road again at 8am tomorrow,” says Ms Hankin.

“SH35 north of Gisborne will remain closed overnight, as will SH2 north of Gisborne. Crews will be working on both stretches of highway from tomorrow. We realise that SH2, in particular, is another crucial route for freight and it’s important we get this passable again as soon as possible.”

“Geotechnical experts are currently at a number of sites assessing damage caused by the persistent and heavy rainfall, including the Waipawa bridge abutment washout on SH50 between Tikokino and Ongaongo.

“I want to thank road users in Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay, as well as all the communities who reply on these important parts of the network. We really appreciate your understanding and your support during this frustrating time.

“We’re also asking people to continue to keep an eye on the Waka Kotahi Journey Planner website for the latest information on road conditions, as short-notice closures are a possibility given the rain is continuing.”