Roading recovery update as we head into winter

22 April 2024

The construction season is drawing to a close, with the shut-down date for large-scale earthworks activities starting on the 30 April. The Tararua Alliance has applied to Horizons Regional Council for a winter earthworks consent to allow some key emergency work sites to continue given the risk of further deterioration. Work will continue on River Road, Mangaone Valley Road, Weber Road and Owahanga Road while the sun continues to shine, and the ground conditions allow.

Work will also continue on the smaller sites and a number of sites will be commencing in the coming weeks. This includes timber retaining walls and mass earth walls on Route 52 south of Pongaroa and a timber retaining wall on Ormondville-Te Uri Road. Of the 105 high complexity sites across the district, 34 have been completed since Cyclone Gabrielle, 12 are in construction and 25 are in the design phase.

A new access bridge for Rakaiatai Road is getting closer, with tendering in the final stages after submissions were received from three contractors. This project is expected to be awarded in April with construction earmarked for spring. Planning for Otanga Road is being progressed alongside this project given the projects are of similar nature. With the summer road maintenance programme completed for the season, resources are being redeployed to make headway on the long list of medium complexity sites that don’t require detailed design and engineering.

Of the 482 medium complexity sites, 435 are damage from Cyclone Gabrielle. Many of the medium complexity sites are in the north of the district, with the initial response focused on the Pongaroa/Ākitio areas due to higher impacts for the communities in these areas. These sites are being rapidly progressed, with 194 being either completed or close to completion to restore safe access. Some of these sites will see further improvements to provide resilience as additional funding is secured.

With the end of the financial year advancing, the total expenditure for emergency road works for the Tararua District to date for the 2023/2024 financial year is $20,812,483, and the anticipated total for the year ending 30 June 2024 is $27,175,728. The district’s total application to NZTA Waka Kotahi for the Cyclone Gabrielle roading response is $90,242,649, based on current estimates. This figure may change as designs and engineers’ estimates are completed for more sites.

If you’re interested in more detail and financial updates on the Tararua District’s roading recovery, the programme is reported to the ICCEM committee of Tararua District Council. Agendas and minutes are published on the Council’s website at