The Rangitata River Bridge, SH1, is remaining closed today and likely overnight, as Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency teams work closely with Environment Canterbury river engineers to mend breaches in stopbanks ahead of more rain forecast for later this week.
The Rangitata River bridge, SH1, is remaining closed today and likely overnight, as Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency teams work closely with Environment Canterbury river engineers to mend breaches in stopbanks ahead of more rain forecast for later this week.
Until the water is diverted properly and a key repair is completed near the railway line, the highway is not safe to be opened, says Pete Connors, Transport Agency System Manager.
Route 72 the inland diversion to SH1 via Arundel opened around midday yesterday and as expected was heavily congested for several hours with significant delays to road users. The detour route is being further adjusted today by Timaru District to improve travel times. The route will be well signposted on the ground.
Transport Agency crews have made strong progress clearing slips in the Fox Hills, between the two glacier towns, in the sunny weather in South Westland the past two days.
Given the progress, the route access is being simplified and opened up but people should expect a much slower journey past slip sites which are still being repaired. People are urged to take care around road crews.
The road will open from 10am Wednesday from Whataroa all the way south to Makarora, albeit with many road works sites and a much slower journey for travellers. It will be open to all traffic and outside of Fox Hills, open 24/7.
Within the wider area Whataroa south to Makarora, the Fox Hills (Franz Josef to Fox Glacier) will close overnight from 8pm to 8am daily until further notice.
Civil Defence has organised an escorted convoy at 2 pm today to allow people to leave Franz Josef, some of whom have been there three days. The Transport Agency is working closely with Civil Defence to ensure this is a safe journey.
The area north of Whataroa to Harihari is remaining closed with work ongoing on extensive slips over a several kilometre section, with an aim to open for Christmas if the weather stays fine.