The AA says the road between Napier and Gisborne will require expensive maintenance and repair work, if the storm-damaged rail link is not reinstated.
It says without the rail option, freight transport will be entirely dependent on State Highway Two.
East Coast Automobile Association spokesman David Murray says he's concerned about preserving the state highway surface and reducing driver frustration on the difficult piece of road.
"It goes without saying, the more heavy traffic that uses the road, the more likelihood of the road deteriorating. Particularly in adverse conditions because that road is susceptible to storms which tend to create slippage."
Photo: NZ Herald