Drivers urged to take care if driving through Waioeka Gorge

By Talisa Kupenga

New Zealand Transport Authority (NZTA) is urging motorists to still take care if driving through the Waioeka Gorge between Ōpōtiki and Gisborne. The road was re-opened this morning after slips closed it early this morning.

Three slips were cleared in the Waioeka Gorge this morning.

Waiotahi Contractors Foreman Turei Stirling says "15km South of Ōpōtiki heading to Gisborne that was the first slip, 30-cubic metres that was cleared. The next one was about 30km in, that was 40-cubic metres and the last one behind me, there was about 50-cubic metres and that was the one that had blocked the road completely."

The road was closed at 2:30am for safety reasons. Crews started clearing the debris just before 7am and the road was opened shortly after 9am.

"That's the efficiency of the boys on the job, they're pretty good at it. They've been doing this a while and our intention is to get out there and clear it as soon as possible."

The only other road North, SH35 between Ōpotiki and Te Araroa, was down to one lane this morning but was also cleared. Stirling says luckily not many drivers were affected.

"We're lucky it wasn't the peak of the holiday time when people were going home, we're four days after new years and the traffic has slowed down a little bit. But we've got bad weather expected which could cause more slips and we just want drivers to be careful and stay safe."

Road Closure updates are available on NZTA's website as well as their social media platforms.