The road to East Coast employment

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

The roads on the East Coast are notorious for being in constant need of repair due to frequent and heavy use.  Now, nearly 100 jobs have been created from the investment into Tairāwhiti roading from the Provincial Growth Fund and the National Land Transport Fund.

The Gisborne District Council will take back accountability for the local transport network and New Zealand Transport Agency will manage the notorious East Coast state highways after a joint venture between the GDC and NZTA.

"I think we have about 8000km of road, with many types, some have tar some don't, some are dirt roads, and some are paper roads," says Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon.

NZTA will manage state highways including SH35 from Gisborne to Wharekāhika, SH2 from Ōpōtiki to Gisborne, and Gisborne to Napier.

“This is good for us because we've tried to work together but haven't been successful.  Now we're independent, that's great because the council, our staff, and contractors can focus on our roads.”

$137mil was set aside for Tairāwhiti roads in 2018 through the PGF.

“This is a great support and we've started improving our roads from that funding,” says Foon.

$4.5mil has been spent upgrading Rakaiatāne Road.

“Every day, 200 logging trucks head to the Gisborne Port here in town from the forests throughout the East Coast, the trucks are heavy and they break down the roads.”

The inner CBD roads have also been upgraded for the first time since 1999.