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Thursday, April 26, 2018

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Gorge closure hits highway business

Posted at 7:19am Thursday 13 Jul, 2017 | By Ryan Wood

The closure of the Waioeka Gorge due to a slip has caused hardship for business owners in ’blink-and-you’ll-miss-it’ Matawai.

Hard Drive Café owner Tracy Gebert usually gets by thanks to people stopping on their way through.

However, with State Highway 2 between Opotiki and Gisborne essentially out of action, business has dropped right off.

“It’s terrible. Winter is bad enough, but with the slip it’s been diabolical,” says Tracy, who’s been in Matawai for 11 years.

“It’s absolutely a ghost town. The only vehicles coming through are the trucks carting metal, which don’t stop anyway. We also struggle because we rely on the bus to bring our mail and bread, and it doesn’t run while the road is closed.”

She says the local PGG Wrightson store are also noticing the impact of the slip on their business.

“It will be affecting Gisborne too, with no traffic coming through. And I know my daughter and her husband had to go the Taupo way to Auckland on Tuesday, which added a couple hours to their journey.”

As a result, she’s had no choice but the cut her opening hours back.

She says she’s been told the road could be open today, but worries that the bad weather might push it back.

The latest report from NZTA suggests the highway won’t be open until the weekend.


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