State highway links in several areas of the North Island are re-opening as floodwaters recede and slip debris is cleared, but Waka Kotahi is urging people only to travel where and when necessary, and asking those who are travelling to use caution and allow extra time for journeys with restrictions still in place in many areas.
“Our number one priority currently is restoring access to isolated North Island communities as soon as possible, to enable essential services and supplies to get through. Our crews are working very hard to re-open these vital links in the supply chain, and roads are also being re-opened to the public as soon as they can be used safely,” says Waka Kotahi National Emergency Response Team spokesperson Mark Owen.
“There is a huge amount of work still to do, and it’s important people realise that even as roads are re-opened, driving conditions remain very challenging in many places, and it’s not business as usual.
“In many locations we have lane restrictions, detours, temporary speed limits and stop-go or other temporary traffic management in place while contractors continue with the hard mahi of clearing slips and debris and other repair work.
“For your own safety and for the safety of our crews on the ground, please drive to the conditions and follow all signage. It’s especially important to slow down through work sites and comply with all temporary speed limits – they are in place to keep everyone safe.
“Please also only travel if you need to. We want to make it as easy as possible for essential goods and emergency services to access affected communities. We’re asking people not to drive into these areas just to see flood damaged areas, as it creates unnecessary congestion and slows down the progress of our crews working to clear roads and undertake repairs.”
The on-line Waka Kotahi Journey Planner is being continually updated with the latest available information, and is the best source of the most current information for anyone who does need to travel.
Waka Kotahi is urging anyone who does need to drive in cyclone-damaged areas to adjust their driving to the conditions, which means slowing down, increasing following distances, switching headlights on and watching for surface water and other debris on the road.