NZ Transport Agency crews in South Westland have now had a chance to inspect highway structures in daylight since the Waiho River burst its banks overnight, leading to evacuations of hotels and motels north of the town.
State Highway 6, which was closed briefly overnight due to flooding, is now clear of water and remains open.
With 110mm rainfall in the past 24 hours, rain is still falling in South Westland.
The wider picture South Island – Takaka Hill not accessible either side
Motorists are urged to drive with caution and slow down across the South Island given the wet weather. SH60, Upper Takaka to Collingwood and then over the Takaka Hill to Riwaka at School Road intersection is currently closed with no detour available. Road users are asked to avoid travelling this road at this stage.
Earlier information from 8 am Transport Agency update:
A State of Emergency was declared overnight by Civil Defence with evacuations of nearby hotels and motels a kilometre north of the Franz Josef township.
Around 138mm fell between 11 pm and 3 am.
The highway was closed for two hours but reopened at 4 am after the Waiho River began to drop.
The Transport Agency is working closely with Emergency Services and Civil Defence. Civil Defence Updates are going on the Westland District Council’s web site.(external link)