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Milford Road, SH94 – extreme rainfall continues and carries over onto Southland and Otago highways

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Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency says the Milford Road, SH94, will be closed at least into the weekend and potentially into next week given the damage from torrential rain and ongoing moving slips in the past 48 hours.

Just north of Kingston, SH6, in Central Otago/ Queenstown Lakes District this morning – the highway is currently closed Frankton to Lumsden

Just north of Kingston, SH6, in Central Otago/ Queenstown Lakes District this morning – the highway is currently closed Frankton to Lumsden.

“Rain has been falling at 40 mm an hour, with up to a metre by end of today,” says Peter Brown Transport Agency Journey Manager.

“In these circumstances, we need to ensure our crews are safe, with 1000 cubic metres of material falling at Lake Gunn late yesterday (the Hollyford Road) and whole hillsides filling fast with rain and ongoing slips.

“We are getting a bridge inspection team onto State Highway 94 today and know that some abutments to these bridges may need repairs before this highway can be safely opened. The wider SH94 repair programme, largely on the Te Anau (eastern) side of the highway, will not be completed for several days, potentially into next week.”

The Milford Alliance team and Downer contractors from Southland and Otago have plenty of plant and resource ready to go, he says, but crew safety is a priority at this stage until the weather lifts.

Outside Fiordland – Otago and Southland hard hit by rain

Elsewhere in Otago and Southland, many highways have surface water or more serious flooding issues today from nearby rivers and creeks. Several are now closed or about to be closed.

For regular daily updates on these, please ensure you are on the  Christchurch Transport Operations Centre’s email list – email tfc@tfc.govt.nz and request to get the South Island wide advisories.

Check the web maps for closures and delay points. If you can avoid travelling on these highways today, please do so, says Mr Brown.

Background

The road, SH94, was closed yesterday between Casade Creek and West Gate (the Chasm).  A state of emergency for the Fiordland community board area was declared by Southland Civil Defence yesterday afternoon.

Evacuations of people from Milford Sound Piopiotahi is being managed by  Southland Civil Defence Emergency Management, making the most of any breaks in cloud to get people out via choppers today.

Plan ahead for a safe, enjoyable journey

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