Waka Kotahi is urging drivers in Northland to show patience and use caution on the region’s roads in the days ahead, with safety the top priority during the current emergency response phase to extensive flooding in the region.
“This is a major weather event, and the damage we are seeing in Northland from the heavy rain and strong wind is very significant.
“Until the flood waters recede, we remain in emergency response mode, with the top priority ensuring the safety of road users. We need the rain to stop and the flooding to recede before we can do full damage assessments in many areas, and until those assessments have been completed it’s too early to say how long the damage sustained will take to repair,” says Helen Harris, Waka Kotahi National Journey Manager.
Ms Harris says two state highways have been closed in the region due to flooding and slips, and Waka Kotahi is concerned that some people are ignoring clearly marked closures and choosing to drive on closed roads in dangerous conditions.
“Safety is our top priority in an emergency response, and we’ve closed these roads for a very good reason – in the current conditions they are not safe for the public to use., When people choose to drive on these closed highways they not only put their own safety at risk, they make it more difficult for our contractors to do their vital work of assessing damage and beginning the huge job of planning repairs. They don’t have time to be pulling vehicles out of flood waters when people decide a road closure doesn’t apply to them. People should also realise that their insurance will be invalid for any damage sustained while driving on a road that has been closed.”
Updates on Closures:
With the current conditions, road access to the Far North is limited, and rain is forecast to continue for the rest of the day. Waka Kotahi is urging people to avoid all non-essential travel in the area.
Waka Kotahi is closely monitoring conditions and will reassess the status of state highways as the weather develops.
If you do have to use the roads, check the latest conditions before heading out, by using the Waka Kotahi Journey Planner.
People should also stay up to date on the latest weather information at MetService warnings and watches.