Route 52 winter weather woes don’t stop progress

Published 03 Oct 2022

Following one of the wettest winters in a long time, a lot of work has been done to enable significant construction works on Route 52 this summer as part of the Huarahi Tūhono, Weber to Wimbledon project. The extremely wet conditions have provided insights into underlying structural issues along the road, and how they can be addressed. Following this, improved plans and reviews of road designs have been made to further improve resilience along the road.

Visibility of springs popping up has enabled improved drainage systems to be designed. Additional ground testing has been completed at the more technically challenging sections of the road. Further preparatory works include working with environmental representatives of Council’s iwi partners, who are supporting the project through the consenting stages with Horizons Regional Council and are providing guidance on cultural considerations for road construction.

Tararua Alliance Capital Projects Manager, and Huarahi Tūhono Project Manager, Andrew Desmond explains more about the focus for the upcoming construction works this summer; “Planned construction works have now resumed with pavement works near Sergeants Hill. Because of all the preparations we are now in a good spot to ramp up our work once the weather improves. Our focus will be dealing with recent storm event damage along the road, as well as earthworks for resilience and safety improvements on the section of road between Esdaile Road and Weber.”

The Huarahi Tūhono, Weber to Wimbledon project started in January 2021, with the objective to improve the section of Route 52 between Weber and the Tararua’s boundary with Central Hawke’s Bay District Council near Wimbledon. The project is expected to be completed by April 2024. Central Government investment of $14.6 million, administered by Kānoa -

Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit (Kānoa – RDU), has allowed Tararua District Council to significantly expand its roading programme on Route 52.

Council Group Manager - Infrastructure Chris Chapman explains; “In addition to the Kānoa investment, Tararua Alliance staff are actively working with Waka Kotahi - NZ Transport Agency to secure the additional funding needed to address the damage caused by multiple storm events. This includes sections along Route 52.” Applications for this year's emergency work events are currently sitting with Waka Kotahi, awaiting further review and approval.

Project Manager Andrew Desmond and Group Manager - Infrastructure Chris Chapman will be presenting updates on the project, including details on what’s next for the works programme during the following community information evening:

Community information and Project Update evening
Weber Hall, Tuesday 18 October 22, 6pm