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Wairau Valley bridge, SH63, remaining closed for another night and day due to floodwaters and underlying 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 again overnight tonight (Thursday night) and also tomorrow, Friday, as floodwaters still cover parts of the highway.

Surface flooding across State Highway 63 with a car approaching on the right.

SH63 at one of the flooded areas.

Until the floodwaters have drained away, or been diverted away from the highway, crews cannot properly assess the damage underneath to ensure everyone’s safety.

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

The Transport Agency is aiming to reopen the highway with restrictions Friday evening, 6 December.

“Floodwater is still flowing over the road at two locations,” says Transport Agency System Manager Andrew James.

“On Friday, crews will attempt to create a barrier (bund) along the berm to stop the floodwater coming onto the road and the culverts.

“We hope to have the highway open to two lane traffic for Friday night and the weekend, with temporary traffic management restrictions in place.

“Permanent repairs can then be evaluated early next week and completed prior to Christmas.”

Further rain is forecast in the catchment of the Wairau River over the weekend, so crews will monitor the site and update if required.

Background

Transport Agency road crews yesterday 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.

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.

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