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Construction of a safer, better-connected Waipawa main street planned to start 19 February 2024

SfP museum shot

Work to create a safer and better-connected main street in Waipawa is in full swing, with Central Hawke’s Bay District Council on track to begin construction on trial improvements from Monday 19 February.

The project includes speed reduction measures, improved walking connections – including two new pedestrian crossings and a raised platform – temporary traffic calming measures such as planter boxes, and a temporary roundabout at the Ruataniwha Street intersection.

Central Hawke’s Bay was one of 13 councils selected by NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi in 2022 to receive funding through the Streets for People programme. This government-funded programme is focused on improving safety, connectivity and active transport options. For Waipawa, this will mean trialling temporary, innovative solutions to slow traffic on and around State Highway 2 and giving pedestrians and schoolchildren safer crossing options.

Central Hawke’s Bay District Council Deputy Mayor Kelly Annand is pleased that the community, which has long called for a safer, more people-friendly main street, will soon start to see work on the local improvements.

“For years we’ve all wanted a safer, better-connected Waipawa High Street but without external funding, our community simply would not have been able to afford a project like this. However, while the cost pressure has been lifted, there is some time pressure. After the very unwelcome delays caused by Cyclone Gabrielle in February last year, we’ve worked hard to get to this point in the Streets for People project. This progress has been essential as the approved government funding is only available until June 2024.”

Deputy Mayor Annand said that finalising the optimal designs for Waipawa’s main street has been a collaborative process. Community members, mana whenua, local business owners, the police, technical engineers and specialists have all worked together to ensure that the safety of all users – pedestrians, schoolchildren and motorists – remains the priority alongside the road’s function as a busy state highway.

“The improved ‘look and feel’ of the street will reflect the welcoming, thriving community Waipawa is proud to be,” says Deputy Mayor Annand.

Recent important changes to the final designs respond to feedback following the successful installation of two raised safety crossings in October 2023 and ongoing consultation with the community and co-design group. These changes include:

  • night works to minimise disruption to motorists, with no planned daytime construction or detours.
  • reducing the number of new trial pedestrian crossings to two – one near Waipawa Butchery and one near the BP Station – to improve pedestrian access to the High Street.
  • improved access to Madge Hunter Park and Centennial Memorial Swimming Pool by way of a raised platform across State Highway 2 to slow traffic and extending the footpath.
  • a much-needed temporary asphalt roundabout at the intersection of Ruataniwha Street and State Highway 2 to slow traffic entering Waipawa from the south.
  • removing plans for a cycleway through town in response to community feedback and safety concerns.

Changes to the current street will also include traffic calming interventions into and through Waipawa to slow traffic and encourage visitors to stop and enjoy the main street, as well as planter boxes and bollards that will serve as safety interventions and enhance the vibrancy of the town.

Central Hawke’s Bay District Council chief executive Doug Tate says, “This is a very important project for Waipawa, and it will be great to see the people-friendly improvements take shape on the main street. We’re delighted to have secured government funding to ease the burden of core infrastructure and post-cyclone recovery investment that we are confronting in Central Hawke’s Bay, and we continue to seek out opportunities like this for the district.”

Construction is planned to start on Monday 19 February and is expected to take around two months, with night works taking place between 7 pm and 6 am, Sunday to Thursday. Council is working with the contractor to finalise the construction timetable, which it will share with the community once it is confirmed.

Following construction, a 12-month monitoring period will assess the effectiveness of the new temporary interventions. During this time Council will invite community feedback to add to monitoring data and video surveillance collected by an independent party. If successful, further external funding will be sought to make the additions permanent.

To read more about Streets for People in Waipawa, visit Streets for People | Central Hawke's Bay District Council ( View the temporary changes here:

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26 January 2024

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