Take the scenic route as Coromandel roads reopen to all traffic
Written by John Grant on February 22, 2023
Further evidence of the Coromandel reopening is the restoring of access for all vehicles now being able to drive the entire length of State Highway 25.
Cars and trucks can now access all areas of state highway 25 with only SH25A remaining closed due to the major collapse of a section of the Kopu Hikuai highway. State highway 25 has now been described by locals as the scenic route and takes road users along the beautiful Thames Coast Road on the western side and via Whangamata, Tairua and Whitianga on the Eastern Coast.
NZTA Waikato System Manager Cara Lauder sys “While the clean up and repair work continues, this is a significant milestone in our efforts to re-open crucial transport lifelines and help the Coromandel back onto its feet,” says Cara Lauder.
“We are a long way from business as usual but getting SH25 useable again for heavier vehicles will help ensure supplies get through and people needing to tow trailers can move around the peninsula again.
“The remedial work is ongoing on many sections of SH25 and SH2 through the Karangahake Gorge. And with longer term recovery works such as underslip repairs ahead, Coromandel Road users should be prepared for disrupted travel for some time.
“It’s important everyone is aware that there are still small slips, fallen vegetation and slippery surface areas. Driving conditions remain very challenging in many places, with lane restrictions, temporary speed limits and stop-go or other temporary traffic management in place,” Ms Lauder says.
Areas of SH25 where truck and trailers and other heavy vehicles should take particular care are:
SH25 Thames to Coromandel:
Some one lane areas remain on the Thames Coast where slip material and large tree trunks await removal.
Narrow road width between Kereta Hill / Manaia lookout and the Manaia township.
Narrow road width south of the Te Kouma Road intersection with SH25.
SH25 Te Rerenga to Whitianga:
Some one lane areas remain where slip material and large tree trunks await removal.
SH25 Whitianga to Tairua:
Down to one lane adjacent to the Peninsula Aggregates Quarry between Whenuakite and Tairua where the stream has undermined the bank adjacent to the road carriageway.
There’s an underslip north of Tairua on Pumpkin Hill.
SH25 Whiritoa to Waihi:
There’s an underslip approx. 2.5km south of Whiritoa Beach Road.
When a National State of Emergency was declared on Tuesday morning, more than 30 sections of state highway in the North Island were completely closed to traffic.
By Wednesday evening (15 February) in the Coromandel, Waka Kotahi contractors had re-opened the road for essential travel from Thames to Matarangi around the east coast and State Highway 2 Paeroa and Waihi through the Karangahake Gorge.
By early evening Thursday 16 Feb, State Highway 25 was open for essential travel around the entire perimeter of the peninsula, restoring access to remaining isolated communities.
“We understand just how devastating this summer’s storm events have been for locals, visitors and businesses in the Coromandel. The peninsula has endured five major storms this summer including a three week-long state of emergency in the district. We thank everyone for their patience as our contractors continue this huge job,” Ms Lauder says.
Local roads on the Coromandel have also reopened with some exceptions. A large slip on Matarangi Road has been cleared and is now fully open. Black Jack Rd which provides the only access to Otama, Opito and Matapaua Bay. We understand the Council is currently having an underslip geotechnically assessed and has closed the road till this report is received. Local residents have been able to travel at their own risk however the road is officially closed.
Travel from northern areas such as Port Charles is still limited, and you can refer to our road update page here.