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Kererū Road 3rd Gorge Culvert

Kereru Gorge banner

Photo taken 5/2/2024


Flood damage from Cyclone Gabrielle in February 2023 resulted in the loss of approximately 50 metres of Kererū Road, the loss of the culvert drainage and erosion of the stream to around 8m below its previous level. This means the gully is now 18 metres deep. 

The steep slopes and extensive damage make this a complex project with vehicle access difficult. Due to its complexity, the time and cost to implement an interim solution would be similar to that required for a permanent solution. 

Kereu gorge before Medium

Kererū Gorge as it appeared in September 2021

The culvert which previously provided drainage needs to be replaced with a much larger permanent structure. Following this, the road will be rebuilt on top.

Kererū Gorge is one of eighteen bridges or culverts that were destroyed in the cyclone. The scale and complexity of the damage across the district is huge. A prioritised recovery programme to replace these structures and repair the roading network will be delivered over the next seven to ten years.

The impact of Kererū Gorge Road being closed since Cyclone Gabrielle has been significant for the community. They have lost their most direct access route into Hastings and the wider district (forced to take a lengthy detour down Salisbury Road) and are disconnected from neighbours and schools. Unlike ten of the other sites, no short-term solution to restore pre-cyclone access has been possible. Because of this, the permanent repair of the Kererū Gorge road and culvert will be one of the first permanent projects to get underway. Construction is planned to begin in March 2024.

To date, extensive clearing of silt and flood debris has been done, along with topographical surveys and geotechical investigations. Following the completion of a feasibility study, it is recommended that a 15-metre-wide segmented culvert is the best option moving forward, in terms of cost-effectiveness and timeliness, to future-proof against flooding.

The next steps are the preparation of the site for heavy vehicle work and detailed design for construction. This will happen simultaneously as emergency works.

Scheduling dates for work may change as a project proceeds. For example, detailed investigations may show that a project is more or less complex than initial inspections revealed, and the updated information may see a project brought forward or delayed.

Key points

  • Site complexity:  The steepness and narrowness of the site make access very difficult, and limit the number of options availableThe ground conditions are extremely poor making the design solution a challenge. 

  • Project timeline: The goal is to prepare the site access in February 2024 for construction of a permanent replacement structure to begin in March 2024. Construction is expected to take six-nine months from commencement of works. However, delays may occur due to shipping delays, weather events or other unforeseen occurrences. 

Works completed to date

Extensive site clearance of silt and debris. A feasibility study has been completed to assess the engineering challenges linked to each drainage solution that would protect the repaired road.  The feasibility report is based on the following:

  • Geometrics
  • Hydrology and climate effects
  • Geotechnical/geology considerations
  • Environmental considerations
  • Constructability
  • Cost
  • Social impacts
  • Other factors

The recommendation of the feasibility report is for a 15-metre wide multiplate culvert. This will future proof the structure for flooding, and is also the most cost-effective option. 


Feasibility study Completed December 2023
Site preparation for construction From 19 February 2024
Detailed design February 2024
Mana whenua engagement, community engagement February 2024
Blessing ahead of works beginning TBC
Works begin Mid-March 2024
Works complete  December 2024 (weather dependent)

Community meetings

Date Location Status
Monday 26 February, 6:00pm-7:30pm Kererū Town Hall COMPLETE

Details of further meetings will be added here, as and when confirmed.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Prior to the cyclone the culvert carrying the Whanaukini Stream under Kereru Road was a 1.8m diameter pipe.  Cyclone Gabrielle caused catastrophic damage. 50m of road embankment were lost and water eroded the level of the stream in the gully by 8m, so there is now a gully approximately 18m deep.

The time, cost and expense of any interim solution at this site would be similar to a permanent solution, and so a temporary solution was ruled out.  Work has been carrying on with urgency to investigate solutions, secure funding and work to get construction underway as soon as possible.  We understand the impact on community, and so construction of a permanent solution here is in the first tranche of construction for cyclone recovery.  In total, the full programme of recovery work will be phased over 7-10 years at a cost of $800 million.  Kereru Gorge is one of the first projects programmed and construction is intended to begin in March 2024.  While we understand some use of private land has happened as a bypass route, Council is not able to formalise this as a road suitable for public use.

While Council is aware that local landowners have been allowing access through private property and this has been working as an informal ‘road’ this is not something that we can formalise.  Doing so would require that it meet all of the standards of a formal road which would require significant investment in private property and potentially major engineering to achieve.

All road closures appear on the Hastings District Council website. In the immediate aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle emergency services and transportation companies were advised via newsletter that there were multiple road closures across the district and to refer to this webpage. Kererū Road Gorge has appeared as being closed for 12 months now and it is signposted on Kererū Road itself.

This project is being funded with some of the emergency Crown funding for Cyclone recovery, and so is confirmed.

Olrig Bridge has been repaired to a level where materials can be transported across it. However, because the bulk of the fill material is being sourced locally, it will not need to be brought across Olrig or Whanakino Bridges. Whanakino Bridge has been inspected and is fit for purpose.

Carrying heavy loads (anything over 46 tonnes) across bridges requires a permit from HDC (as per standard practice). It is on this basis overweight loads are being managed. 

Full repair of Olrig Bridge will be scheduled as part of the overall cyclone recovery work and will be done concurrently with the gorge. Access will be managed and the community consulted throughout the construction period to minimise disruption.

The timeline for the project is 6-9 months, which includes a weather buffer. However unforeseen weather events could impact this timeline.

  1. Enabling works (20 Feb - 15 March)
  2. Ground improvements (18 March – end of May)
  3. Pile and pile cap installation (May - end of August)
  4. Foundation installation (early May – end of June)
  5. Arch construction (dependent on arrival of multiplate arch – 3 weeks)
  6. Fill over the arch and headwall construction (mid-July – end of December)
  7. Pavement construction (3-4 weeks sealing), barrier installation (December)
  8. Signage, road marking (1 week)
  9. Final touches

Once a contract has been awarded, we will revise dates and where possible will do our best to accelerate the programme where we can. Regular updates will be provided to the community via newsletter and Facebook.

The culvert is expected to be received the end of June/early July. Payment has already been made and manufacturing will follow. The culvert itself cannot be manufactured in New Zealand and has to come from overseas. The manufacturing will begin once engineering approvals have been given.

Not significantly. Access to the construction site is from the other side of the gorge.

Road safety improvements have been programmed and installation is expected to be completed by mid-March. This will include installation of edge marker posts and curve warning signs where needed along the full length of Salisbury Road.  We ask the community, if they notice any maintenance issues please call us on (06) 871 5000 so a contractor can be allocated to this work straight away. 

The volume of traffic on Salisbury Road has increased with it being used as detour route while Gwavas and Kereru Road are closed. Two heavy vehicles, one with a trailer, have gotten stuck on the ‘spiral/staircase’ section of Salisbury Road on the week of 5 February. Due to the gradient and slope of the road, it is unsuitable for long truck and trailer combinations. Hot conditions and loose seal make it more challenging. Council is taking steps to address these issues:

Maintenance of Salisbury Road

  • The road will be graded each fortnight and rolled after each grading. The road was regraded the week of 12 February and will continue to be monitored to ensure it is kept in the best  condition possible. We ask the community,  if they notice any maintenance issues to call (06) 871 5000 so that a contractor can be allocated to this work straight away.
  • The chip seal has broken down at one location and we are looking at possible solutions to address this. This will likely be asphalting, which will be done as soon as possible
  • An advisory notice will be issued to trucking companies and signage installed advising vehicles about maximum recommended lengths.

In the year prior to the cyclone $17,277 (53% subsidised) was spent on the maintenance of Salisbury Road. The cost of the cyclone emergency response work was $1,200,982 (93% subsidised) and since then a further $413,205 (53% subsidised) has been spent on maintenance and resealing.



Comparison of Kererū gorge immediately after the Cyclone and now

Progress photos


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