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Funding to fast track roading repairs welcome as recovery planning begins

Wakarara Road opening 1

A $35.9 million funding package from Waka Kotahi will provide a much-needed kickstart to help repair Central Hawke’s Bay’s roading network. 

Central Hawke’s Bay Mayor, Alex Walker, said today’s announcement is welcome news as recovery planning for the district begins following the devastation caused by Cyclone Gabrielle. 

“In the immediate aftermath, the focus was on re-establishing access to as many routes as possible, largely through temporary repairs. This week we were pleased to reconnect our last isolated community with the opening of a temporary crossing at Douglas Cutting Bridge to Wakarara residents,” she said.  

“While this is a fantastic milestone and there has been an incredible amount of work to get us to this point, we cannot underestimate the extent of the damage and the task ahead.”  

More than a month on from Cyclone Gabrielle, 10 roads remain closed, and many that have been reopened require further major repairs so restrictions can be lifted. Eight bridges are still closed, while 12 have undergone significant repairs to get passable, and a total of 69 need more work to restore them to pre-storm condition.  

The Waka Kotahi funding will be used to ensure temporary access for all communities is secure and to help build more resilience back into the roading network ahead of winter.    

“This will involve revisiting and bolstering temporary repairs, retaining large slips and increasing weight limits for key roads and bridges,” said Mayor Alex.  

Once this work is complete in June, the district will still need major investment across its roading network to ensure Tamatea Central Hawke’s Bay has a roading network that its communities can rely on. 

“Initial estimates to repair damage from Cyclone Gabrielle suggest we need around $100 million in total, around $65 million on top of the funding we have just received. This does not include existing damage to the roads from 2022, which will cost around $50 million to repair. 

“We simply aren’t going to be able to shoulder these costs in the long term alone. We are doing all we can as quickly as we can but there will be years not months of work ahead of us. We thank the community for their ongoing patience and support. We will need to work across all levels of community and government to ensure we have a roading network that supports our region to thrive once again.”

Further information: 

For information on the Cyclone Gabrielle recovery, visit  or contact our customer service centre on 06 857 8060,

22 March 2023

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