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Wairau Valley bridge, SH63, remaining closed due to slow floodwater subsidence and highway damage

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Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is keeping part of SH63 through the Wairau Valley and over The Wash bridge closed today as floodwaters still cover large parts of the highway and parts have been damaged by flooding.

The highway links Renwick, near Blenheim, to St Arnaud and SH6 (to Nelson) at Kawatiri Junction.

“Several sections of the Wairau Valley highway near the bridge are damaged so once it reopens, possibly on Thursday afternoon this week, it will be down to one lane in some areas with traffic management. We will need to do some emergency repairs to the highway before Christmas,” says Andrew James, System Manager for the Transport Agency, Top of the South.

Transport Agency road crews have closed the highway at Kowhai Point Camping Area, east of the bridge, with a “soft” closure (ie residents are able to access their properties, but there is no through traffic) at Korere-Tophouse Rd intersection, closer to St Arnaud, on the other side of the river.

“The road has been badly damaged in a number of places as a result of the high velocity of the water during Tuesday’s torrential rain with floodwaters across the road,” says Mr James.

“The water level is continuing to drop but only slowly. The water level is likely to remain high for most of today, restricting our ability to fully assess the damage or undertake any temporary or permanent repairs.

“This means we are unlikely to reopen this stretch of highway until Thursday afternoon at the earliest, however people can check the link on our website for updates.”

Once the highway reopens, people should build in extra time for their journey over The Wash bridge until more permanent repairs can be done in coming days.

Updates on the Wairau Valley highway, “The Wash” bridge closure, SH63 St Arnaud: https://www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/roadclosures/283548(external link)

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