Main roads running through Hawke's Bay are set to be renamed to reduce confusion especially for tourists.

The Hawke's Bay expressway is set to be renamed State Highway 2, with the current SH2 to be renamed SH51.

The decision has been made to switch the names of the two state highways to reduce confusion, given the expressway is the main "spine" of Hawke's Bay's transport network.

Regional transport systems manager for NZTA Oliver Postings said discussions about switching the names began with local councils when the expressway was built.

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"The renumbering will better align the state highways in the network and will reduce confusion, particularly for tourists.

"The opportunity to renumber the state highways has arisen through the exchange of SH2 Meeanee Quay and Pandora Rd becoming a local road under Napier City Council's authority, and Prebensen Drive becoming a state highway under the Transport Agency's authority."

The Hawke's Bay expressway was constructed in seven sections over 43 years, and currently each section is referred to separately with different state highway numbers.

From August 1, the entirety of the Hawke's Bay expressway will become known as SH2 and the former SH2 between Napier and Hastings (also known as the Coastal Route) will become SH51.

Most people will be unaffected by the changes, except for landowners in two areas north and south of Clive, where the name of the road is currently the state highway number.

Those residents and businesses will have their change of address automatically updated in the NZ Post directory.