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Harker Street to reopen to vehicles


Great news for Waipawa! Work to reopen Harker Street in Waipawa is planned to begin next week, from Monday 27 May, and take approximately two months to complete.

Since flooding from the Waipawa River during Cyclone Gabrielle severely damaged the southern end of Harker Street, including the protective steel structure under KiwiRail’s bridge overhead, the road has been closed to vehicles. This led to concerns around how Central Hawke's Bay District Council could manage repairs amidst the millions of dollars’ worth of cyclone damage across the district.

However, the good news is that Council has secured external funding to restore vehicle access to the street and repair the protective structure on both sides of the railway bridge overhead, a key cyclone recovery action.

Acknowledging the community's patience over the past year, Central Hawke’s Bay District Deputy Mayor Kelly Annand said that funding to date has been a barrier to repairing the protective structure on both sides of the bridge over Harker Street, which was damaged during the cyclone last year.

"We are pleased to announce we are now able to restore this vital connection in Waipawa.

“Harker Street connects State Highway 2 to Victoria Street and when passable served as a popular second access route to Waipawa Primary School, businesses, recreational facilities and the camping ground. Since the cyclone damaged the underpass, the street has been closed to through traffic and so a dead-end, which has meant all school traffic has had to come through Victoria Street, with safety concerns over vehicles using Harker Street as a drop-off point and for turning around.”

Waipawa School Principal Paul Jamieson is also looking forward to the reinstatement of the Harker Street underpass. “The 3:00 pm rush to pick up and move on will now be a much calmer and safer experience for our students, staff and families,” says Mr Jamieson. “It will make a huge difference to our school community to have through traffic flowing again, with less U-turns outside school and less congestion at the Victoria Street intersection – we can't wait!”
Work will begin on-site next week, from Monday 27 May, with inspections of the street’s existing stormwater network, followed by any repairs required to these assets. The street will be closed off to pedestrians and cyclists for the duration of the works, which will involve reinstating the protective structure on both sides of the bridge, repairing and marking the road surface, and installing new signage. Council anticipates work to be completed in July 2024 (weather dependent), in time for the community to access Madge Hunter Park and Waipawa’s swimming pool in spring/summer.

The reinstatement of Harker Street marks a significant step forward in recovering from the cyclone and enhancing community connectivity and infrastructure within Waipawa. The project demonstrates Council's commitment to listening to and addressing the needs and concerns of residents, as well as contributing to the activation of Waipawa’s town centre.

Council is currently working to confirm a detailed construction timetable and will keep the Waipawa community well informed throughout the project, including on how this work will interact with the broader Streets for People programme of work down the main street of Waipawa. Anyone with questions or concerns is encouraged to call Council’s customer service on 06 857 8060.

7 June 2024

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