Ashburton River/Hakatere Bridge SH1 precautionary closure 7pm tonight and overnight, wet weather continues in Canterbury


Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is closing the SH1 Ashburton River/ Hakatere Bridge tonight (Sunday) at 7pm through to around 6am Monday 24 July.

“The closure is precautionary given the build-up of flood debris around the bridge piers,” says Mark Pinner, System Manager for Waka Kotahi Central South Island. (See photo below – showing reasonable amounts of freeboard/room between the bridge deck and the river.)

Although the river levels are not comparable to the 2021 flood which undermined part of the bridge and required remediation, given more rain is forecast a cautious approach is appropriate, says Mr Pinner. “If the river levels drop and concerns over debris lessen, the bridge may re-open later tonight or earlier tomorrow, however, we prefer people to be aware of the potential for the full overnight closure ahead of time.”

Emergency vehicles will be allowed across the bridge.

Electronic moveable signs are going in place now north of Timaru and Rangitata, with permanent signs advertising the bridge closure in Rolleston, Rakaia and Hinds.

  • Local road bridges in Ashburton District were all closed as at 3 pm this afternoon, reports Ashburton Civil Defence Emergency Management. link)
  • Driving conditions are treacherous, with widespread surface flooding across the Ashburton District's roads and the State Highway network. Conditions can change rapidly, and with a large area of the road network affected, not every flooded road will have warning signage, says Civil Defence in Ashburton.
  • An Orange Heavy Rain Warning remains in place for Canterbury. MetService expects another 60 to 90 mm of rain, on top of what has already fallen, mainly about the foothills and High Country.

The Ashburton River/Hakatere Bridge this afternoon, part of SH1:

Inland from Ashburton, main highway to Methven: Inland Mid Canterbury, SH77 between Thompsons Track and Pole Road, the highway is closed due to flooding. Local road bridges are closed also so people need to be aware of this taking alternative routes. link)

Geraldine to Fairlie SH79 one closure point at Middle Valley: There is an alternative route via SH8 and SH1.

Updates for Middle Valley: link)

SH73 Springfield to Castle Hill: There are patches of flooded highway along this route but it is open. Waka Kotahi encourages all drivers on essential trips to drive to the conditions.

SH75 Banks Peninsula, Birdlings Flat to Cooptown: There is Stop/Go traffic management along this route and a number of small slips restricting traffic. The route opened after lunch after an earlier closure to clear a large slip near Little River.

Places to get up-to-date information

All Canterbury highway updates here: link)

Ashburton District Council Civil Defence: link)

Environment Canterbury alpine river levels: link)

For Ashburton District ECan says: All the rivers at the top of the catchment are running high and flows are increasing downstream this afternoon. Expect these to rise throughout the day today as the snow at the top of the catchment melts. At this stage we do not expect significant out of river flooding, but localised issues and erosion to already vulnerable areas is likely.

Ashburton River levels at the SH1 bridge: link)

MetService: link)

Waka Kotahi South Island Facebook page: link)

And local council and Civil Defence pages are other places to get up to date information.