Waka Kotahi says the reopening of a major road into Hawke's Bay more than a month after Cyclone Gabrielle will make a huge difference for the community.
State Highway 5 from Napier to Taupō reopened to motorists from 7am to 7pm daily, after opening for freight convoys last week.
"It's a key freight route for the Hawke's Bay but more importantly I think it's a key connection for our communities and our whanau so we can start seeing people and being reconnected," Waka Kotahi central North Island maintenance and operations manager Jaclyn Hankin said.
"It's a key connection for our communities" - Jaclyn Hankin (3 min 18 sec)
Temporary speed limits were in place particularly through the Esk Valley, making the journey time significantly longer than before the roads were damaged, she said.
"It is going to be closer probably to the three hour mark, just for the time being, until the road gets back up and running.
Crews were working on slip and washout damage at 32 sites and three sections were down to one lane.
Full repair would take at least 12 months, but more sections should be reopened to two lanes over the next few months, Hankin said.
The 7am to 7pm limit was to ensure drivers were on the road when there was good visibility.
The road might still have to be closed during bad weather, she said.
Hankin appealed to drivers to stick to the temporary speed limits. "We just need people to be patient."