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Cyclone Gita: State Highway 1 closed north and south of Kaikōura

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The NZ Transport Agency is advising motorists that State Highway 1 has been closed north and south of Kaikōura due to heavy rain and the risk of slips and rockfalls.

With steady rain falling along the Kaikōura coastline, the Transport Agency closed State Highway 1 on both sides of the town, Mangamaunu to Clarence and Peketa to Goose Bay, just after 8:30am. There have been some minor rockfalls on the Hundalees south of Oaro and also along the coast.

Route 70, the inland road via Waiau remains open for road access to Kaikōura. While crews will aim to keep it open as long as possible, drivers are urged to delay all but essential trips in the area until the severe weather has passed.

All drivers travelling from Picton to Christchurch are advised to take the Lewis Pass route via Waipara and St Arnaud.

West Coast and Nelson update

Steady rain is falling on the West Coast and around Nelson, and crews working to keep stormwater drains open and roads free from flooding. All highways currently remain open, but SH6 Whataroa to Haast is experiencing strong winds, especially around the river valleys. Extra care is required by drivers with caravans, campervans, high sided vehicles and motorbikes.

SH6 Rocks Road in Nelson remains open, and is being monitored closely. Conditions will be assessed throughout the day and the road will be closed if conditions deteriorate.

NZ Transport Agency Senior Journey Manager Neil Walker says while most roads remain open, driving conditions will be difficult in affected areas, and roads may be closed at short notice for safety reasons, with the possibility of slips, rockfalls, flooding and coastal inundation.

Drivers are urged to keep a close eye on the latest road conditions and MetService forecasts before travelling.

“We’re working closely with MetService, local authorities, and the Civil Defence network in preparation for any impacts on the transport network and we’re planning for the likelihood of road closures.”

If delaying travel is not an option, it’s important that motorists to drive to the conditions during severe weather:

  • Reduce driving speeds
  • Increase following distances
  • Be alert to the possibility of surface flooding, fallen trees and debris

“Vehicles need three times more stopping distance in wet, while high-sided vehicles and motorbikes are more susceptible to tipping over in high winds.

“The Transport Agency wants everyone to be safe on the roads during Gita, so it’s important to keep updated on the latest forecasts and travel information before deciding to travel.”

All current road closures and warnings will be updated in real time during the storm event at http://www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/(external link), and drivers can also call 0800 44 44 49 for 24/7 updates on road conditions, closures or delays.

The latest severe weather information is available at http://www.metservice.com/warnings/severe-weather-warnings(external link).

For emergency and disaster updates visit www.civildefence.govt.nz(external link).

Social media updates

For Central North Island

https://twitter.com/NZTACNI
(external link)
https://www.facebook.com/nztacni/(external link)

For Wellington

https://twitter.com/NZTAWgtn
(external link)
https://www.facebook.com/nztawgtn/(external link)

For South Island

https://twitter.com/NZTACWC(external link)
https://www.facebook.com/nztasouthisland(external link)/

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