Hamilton, May 19, 2023
The government is committed to reconnecting the Coromandel Peninsula as fast as possible, Transport Minister Michael Wood has announced.
“A dedicated team of project managers and consulting engineers has been working tirelessly to find a solution. We have taken advice that a bridge will be the fastest, most resilient way forward and will commit to the funding straight away. This road is a lifeline for many people who travel across the peninsula to work or school. It also brings people from all over New Zealand to the peninsula every summer, keeping businesses and the local economy afloat,” he said.
Currently, increased travel time and cost are causing huge disruption.
Waka Kotahi has already engaged with the construction industry and started the procurement process. By early June, there will be a contractor ready to start construction, with completion estimated early next year.
After Cyclone Gabrielle
Ever since a massive slip destroyed a section of the road after storms in January, including Cyclone Gabrielle, the community has been waiting anxiously on some work to begin on the fastest connecting route for the region.
“I know that for many in the community, this will be a long time to wait to have this key connection restored. We have been working hard with the Thames-Coromandel District Council to repair and improve local roads ahead of winter and can confirm that the Tapu-Coroglen road will be open to light vehicles next month providing extra connectivity across the peninsula. We are also continuing work to repair and fully reopen other key roads such as SH 25,” Mr Wood said.
The Transport Ministry will be working with local government and communities to develop a package of economic support to help businesses that usually rely on the direct route onto the peninsula to bring people onto the peninsula during the summer.
“We are aware of the impact this road being closed has on businesses and will support them through this tough period. So far we have supported 400 businesses with grants up to $40,000, provided tax relief for impacted businesses, and will continue to work alongside Thames Coromandel District Council to support businesses. We are also supporting families through temporary accommodation services and have provided Civil Defence payments to 2421 people around the region,” Mr Wood said.
“We will continue to work with the community and businesses to support them through the recovery and keep listening and exploring how to provide further support as needed,” he added.
Rebuild costs are being finalised, however, the estimated cost is $30 to $40 million.
This work is being funded through the government’s $250 million top-up to the National Land Transport Programme fund to support the recovery.
Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink reporter based in Hamilton.