The NZ Transport Agency advises that State Highway 1 in Horowhenua has reopened, but flooding and slips are still causing major disruption throughout the state highway network in the lower North Island.
Crews have successfully reopened the Waikawa Stream Bridge on State Highway 1, restoring north-south access to the lower North Island. The bridge was closed after it suffered extensive damage late last night. It remains subject to speed restrictions, and care is required on the newly lad surface.
Central Regional Performance Manager Mark Owen said that while the reopening was great news, north-south access remains dependent on the Calico Line detour near Marton remaining open, as the highway remains closed due to flooding. State Highway 3 remains closed at several locations.
“We are thrilled to reopen the key North-South lifeline, but there is still widespread disruption throughout the highway network, and our crews will continue to push hard to get roads open as soon and as safely as possible.
“To get this bridge reopened a little more than a day after its closure is phenomenal. We take our hat off to the dedicated crews who worked in atrocious conditions to get it reopened.
Mr Owen warns that many highways remain closed due to widespread slips and flooding, and the Agency advises against non-essential travel on rural roads in affected areas.
“We know that people are eager for the roads to reopen, but with rain still coming down in many areas and slips and flooding widespread across the network, our advice is to keep off the rural roads if you can.
"Surface flooding can surge up very quickly, so if you can't see the sides of the road because of water, then please stop and turn around.
"We thank the public for being so patient and understanding during this wild weather."
Crews will continue to work to clear roads of slips and debris, and daylight assessments will be undertaken first thing in the morning on those highways that remain closed.
Mr Owen says the restoration effort at the Waikawa Stream Bridge, led by Capital Journeys (Fulton Hogan and Opus), involved 25 staff, four excavators, two rollers, and more than a dozen trucks.
Latest highway situation as follows- subject to change at short notice.
(Click here(external link) for interactive map with latest conditions)
State Highway 1 – OPEN - Waipawa Stream Bridge, north of Manakau. Speed restrictions in place.
State Highway 1 - CLOSED - near MARTON just south of Calico line due to flooding
State Highway 3 - CLOSED - near MARTON just south of Calico line due to flooding
SH 1 Marton to Mangaweka - Open, but take care - slips and flooding, road reduced to one lane in places.
State Highway 3 – CLOSED - between Bulls and Whanganui – alternative routes available
State Highway 3 - CLOSED - Westmere to Kai Iwi
State Highway 3 - CLOSED - New Plymouth to Eight Mile. Slips and flooding. No detours.
State Highway 3 - CLOSED - Awahuri to Mt Stewart due to flooding.
State Highway 3 - CLOSED - Whanganui to Hawera, due to flooding.
State Highway 4 - CLOSED - Whanganui to Raetihi due to slips and flooding
State Highway 4 – CLOSED - between Raetihi and Wanganui. No detours.
State Highway 2 - CLOSED - Between Woodville and Pahiatua, due toflooding.
State Highway 53 - CLOSED - The Waihenga Bridge remains closed with diversions in place
State Highway 3 – CLOSED - Manawatū Gorge due to slips.
Saddle Road still OPEN but with numerous slips with significant delays, not suitable for heavy vehicles
Pahiatua Track – - CLOSED - flooding and slips
State Highway 43 – CLOSED - Stratford to Taumaranui
State Highway 3 – Ashhurst – Significant flooding near Glenburn Road – OPEN but marginal
State Highway 54 – CLOSED - between Vinegar Hill to Cheltenham, flooding and slips
State Highway 56 – CLOSED - at Opiki due to flooding
For up to the minute information about highway conditions, please visit http://beta.nzta.govt.nz/traffic(external link) or call 0800 4 HIGHWAYS
For personalised information about driving conditions on their frequently used routes, motorists can check out and sign up to On The Move at www.onthemove.govt.nz.(external link)