Several key highways linking regions of the South Island are today closed due to flooding, slips, and rivers rising, says Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency System Manager Pete Connors.
The latest section of highway to close late this morning is State Highway 1 between Ashburton and Timaru at the Rangitata River bridge.
“This highway may not reopen today given the river’s current levels. We advise people to avoid travel in this area. There is no road link between Ashburton and Timaru currently,” says Mr Connors.
This route is currently down to one lane due to a slip at Candy’s Bend below the viaduct.
Earlier torrential rain overnight and today brought down multiple slips across South Westland, SH6, meaning the highway is closed from Hokitika south through the Haast Pass to Makarora on the Otago side of the pass.
“Transport Agency crews are working to get access from the north to Harihari and it is hoped to have a four-wheel drive track and access to milk tankers this evening,” says Mr Connors.
“We expect to have the Haast Pass route from Makarora in Otago through to Fox Glacier open in the next two days.
“However, the highway through the Fox Hills between Franz Josef and Fox Glacier townships and at Mt Hercules between Harihari and Whataroa is where the most significant damage is. We are currently assessing these areas and trying to get work crews in, but they are unlikely to be open in the next few days.”
Please check the web map for updates.
Civil Defence details and information for Otago region where the rising water levels in lakes Wakatipu and Wanaka and the Clutha River are also being closely monitored and actions taken to keep people safe: