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$209 million forecast total investment

In September 2021 a record $24.3 billion investment in Aotearoa’s land transport system was announced as part of Ngā Kaupapa Huarahi o Aotearoa | 2021–24 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP).

Activities funded through the NLTP aim to make New Zealand’s roads safer and more resilient, provide you with healthier, more environmentally friendly ways to move to the places that matter to you and keep freight flowing.

For Gisborne’s economy to grow and for people to access essential health, education and employment opportunities, investment in the land transport system through the 2021–24 NLTP will support improved access and resilience of the road network.

The region’s relative isolation means businesses and communities rely on having access to safe, reliable transport to get their goods to domestic and international markets and to access basic services. SH2 through the Waioeka Gorge is one of these critical routes and a business case is currently being completed to look at how to improve resilience at the high risk sites along this route which is vulnerable to slips and rockfall. Work is expected to get underway on these improvements in this NLTP.

The topography of Gisborne – a hilly, mountainous interior, low-lying river plains and coastal flats – makes the region prone to erosion and slips. It is also vulnerable to the impact of climate change and extreme weather events. Through this NLTP, we will continue to deliver the SH35 resilience project to strengthen and stabilise ‘hot spots’ along the coast. This will include building retaining walls and rock revetments, as well as native planting programmes to help stabilise slopes and roadsides.

There will also be a focus on improving Gisborne’s poor safety record. The region has a high number of crashes involving drink driving, people not wearing seatbelts and cyclists. A high proportion of drivers are unlicensed. Driver behaviour change will address drug and alcohol impairment and speeding.

Improving safety

Safety improvements across the region will be:

  • Improvements to high-risk local road intersections to help reduce crashes
  • Safety improvements outside schools across the region, such as line markings and traffic calming measures for safer access
  • Speed management reviews for local roads to help reduce deaths and serious injuries.

Following last year’s speed review along SH35 which resulted in speed limit changes from Gisborne to Te Puia Springs, we have completed a review from Te Puia Springs to Tokomaru Bay township. A further speed review is planned from Te Puia Springs to Ōpōtiki. As part of this process, infrastructure improvements, such as speed limit signage, traffic calming measures and line marking changes, are also completed.

A number of safety improvements will be made across the region to both local roads and state highways, including intersection improvements, installation of rumble strips, improved signage and shoulder widening to support cycling.

As part of the Tairāwhiti Roading package announced in 2018, more than 20 additional passing opportunities, including slow vehicle bays and mobile phone laybys, will be built at a cost of $33 million along SH2 and SH35. Driver frustrations with the slower speeds of heavy freight using these highways has resulted in risky overtaking. This package is being funded through the NLTF and the Provincial Growth Fund. These are programmed to be delivered by the end of 2022.

Better access

In this NLTP, we’ll be investing $3 million to maintain and develop Gisborne city’s public transport network, with funding for an improved ticketing system, and a strategic review of the city’s public transport system.

Through the Tairāwhiti Roading Package, $13.5 million is being spent to improve the reliability and resilience of SH35 at 20 sites. The work includes structural engineering and native planting.

We’ll invest in safety and resilience improvements through SH2 Waioeka Gorge, a key freight route for Gisborne.


Gisborne is home to a growing number of primary industries that require reliable access to markets. The region’s HPMV network is incomplete, particularly when compared with the remainder of the Upper North Island. Under the Tairāwhiti Roading Package, $4m has been invested in opening up the SH2 route from Napier to Ōpōtiki to HMPVs. Work continues on strengthening six bridges in the Waioeka Gorge, all of which will be completed by the end of 2022.

Investment highlights for 2021–24

  • SH35 resilience – Repairing and strengthening resilience ‘hot spots’ along SH35 for a more reliable and robust highway that can better withstand the impact of natural events. This is part of the Tairāwhiti Roading Package, funded by the Provincial Growth Fund.
  • SH35/SH2 passing opportunities – Creating and improving passing opportunities to allow safer overtaking and reduce driver frustration. This is part of the Tairāwhiti Roading Package, with $33 million allocated from the Provincial Growth Fund and National Land Transport Fund.
  • SH2 Waioeka Gorge – funding for a detailed business case on resilience and safety improvements on SH2 between Gisborne and Ōpōtiki.

Summary of achievements from 2018–21

  • The former one-lane Motu Bridge on SH2 was replaced with a new two-lane bridge (now named Te Whitinga o Tamataipunoa) at a cost of $6.5 million, funded through the Regional Economic Development Fund.
  • $6 million was spent improving safety on SH2/SH35 with safety barriers, rumble stripes and improved signage, while a further $1.2 million was spent on road safety campaigns to address driver fatigue, sober driving, wearing seatbelts and back to school safe driving.
  • The Muriel Jones shared path on SH35 Wainui was extended by 1.6kms from Sponge Bay to Kaiti and $2.5 million was spent widening the historic SH35 Gladstone Road Bridge to add a shared path for cyclists and pedestrians.

Read about a few of the ways that previous investment has delivered for Tairāwhiti | Gisborne communities and New Zealand.