Hawke’s Bay Expressway becoming ‘gutter’ for rubbish

1 min read

Rubbish dumped next to the Hawke’s Bay Expressway (SH2) near Tamatea. Photo / Paul Taylor

The amount of rubbish being dumped on the side of the Hawke’s Bay Expressway is becoming “an embarrassment” and has led to a new weekly litter run.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency says it has noticed an uptick in rubbish being dumped next to the expressway along SH2 in recent weeks, from a couch to bags full of rubbish.

Waka Kotahi regional manager of maintenance and operations Jaclyn Hankin said it was disappointing given it ”diverts time and funding from other essential road maintenance”.

“Unfortunately, we have noticed in recent weeks an increase in the amount of litter, debris, car and truck tyres, full rubbish bags and in one case a couch being left on the side of the expressway,” she said.


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“We acknowledge the concerns of residents and we note it is disappointing that people continue to illegally dump household and commercial rubbish on the sides of our state highways.”

A contractor will begin a litter-run programme every Friday, starting this Friday, between 9am and 3pm along the expressway, which connects Hastings and Napier.

“During these hours, there will not be any road closures, but traffic management will be in place with a temporary 50km/h speed limit.”

Traffic on the Hawke's Bay Expressway. Photo / NZME
Traffic on the Hawke’s Bay Expressway. Photo / NZME

Hankin said the contractor previously frequently cleaned up along the expressway but that had been disrupted in recent months by recovery work on other roads after Cyclone Gabrielle.


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Napier resident Richard Kingston said he had spotted mattresses, chairs, carpet, cardboard boxes and “all sorts of stuff” on both sides of the expressway over recent weeks.

He said it appeared to be a worsening problem “right through from Bay View to Pakipaki”.

“It’s an embarrassment.

“It just seems like people are treating it like a gutter.”

He has lived in the region for decades and often uses the expressway, which is about 20 years old. He said this was the worst he had seen it.

“I’m quite proud of living in Napier and I would just like to see that we look after the place.”

He said rubbish and debris in the initial aftermath of the cyclone was to be expected, but this was an ongoing problem that needed to be addressed.

Waka Kotahi manages all state highways in New Zealand including maintaining the roadsides and collecting rubbish.

Waka Kotahi can’t issue fines for dumping rubbish but councils can.

To report rubbish on state highways, people can contact Waka Kotahi on 0800 44 44 49, and details will be passed on to councils.


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Gary Hamilton-Irvine is a Hawke’s Bay-based reporter who covers a range of news topics including business, councils, breaking news and cyclone recovery. He formerly worked at News Corp Australia.

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