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Care needed on Northland roads as flood clean-up continues

15 July 2014

Care needed on Northland roads as flood clean-up continues

The NZ Transport Agency says it hopes it can re-open State Highway 1 near Kawakawa in Northland by the end of the week.

“Re-opening the highway is our number one priority – we all know how important a life-line the highway is to Northland, particularly to those people in the Bay of Islands and the Far North,” says the Transport Agency’s Regional Journey Manager Jacqui Hori-Hoult.

A washout at the weekend affected a 70 metre-long section of the highway and left a drop from the highway into the valley below 8 to 10 metres deep.

“It’s a huge washout and it’s still unstable because of all the rain we’ve had. Our contractors are working 24/7 in very demanding conditions to repair it.”

Ms Hori-Hoult says the first task for contractors is to clear bush and safety guardrails along the highway so that they can construct a temporary 100 metre-long detour past the washout.

“If the weather holds we hope we can have that detour built in a few days, but we will only re-open the highway when we are absolutely sure it is safe to do so. We need to be certain that there’s no risk to people.”

There is an alternative route available for all traffic, including trucks, using SH12 through Dargaville, the Waipoua Forest, and Kaikohe. The detour is available either from SH1/12 junction at the Brynderwyn Hills or from SH14 at Whangarei.

The detour will add about 2 hours to a journey.

Ms Hori-Hoult says there will be some delays on the detour at Kaihu, 30kms north of Dargaville.

Transport Agency contractors are widening a 100 metre-long section of the highway to improve safety for all vehicles.

“There will be some delays at Kaihu while we complete this work. We are working as quickly as we can. We do ask people to be patient and observe the lower speed limit along this section of SH12.”

Although not a state highway, the Transport Agency says that Mangakahia Road, a forestry route between SH12 at Kaikohe and SH1, is closed to heavy vehicles at the north or Kaikohe end of the road.

Ms Hori-Hoult says care is still needed on many other sections of state highway in Northland as work continues to clear them of damage and debris after the recent storm.

For more information visit www.nzta.govt.nz

ENDS

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