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Major clean-up operation ahead for Tairawhiti Roads

Restoring access to isolated families is the key priority for Tairawhiti Roads as they tackle the widespread damage from the major flood event this week.

While contractors are working as quickly as possible to reopen roads, the significant challenges around access and environmental conditions requires a considered and well-managed action plan.

Arakihi Road off Tauwhareparae Road is one of the worst affected areas, with slips, retaining wall collapses, jammed culverts and sludge and silt blocking access.

The slip blocking the road was cleared yesterday to allow emergency access for residents but it is likely the road will remain closed for some time.

Anaura Bay, Kaiaua, Waihau Bay, Pa, Waiomoko, Panikau, Glenroy and Andrews roads are now open. Arakihi, West Ho, Kiore, Paroa, Tauwhareparae, Takapau and Mangatokerau roads remain closed.

The deck of the Wigan Bridge on Tauwhareparae Road has been cleared but it is still closed, with a massive amount of debris yet to be removed from the surrounding area.

Engineers are progressively inspecting all bridges in the area, once inspected we will have a better indication of the situation.

Tairawhiti Roads is working with Council’s environmental team to find suitable locations for the debris and silt to be disposed of.

Police area commander Sam Aberahama urges the public to respect “Road Closed” signs around the district.

“The roads are closed for public safety and to allow roading contractors to do their job safely without having to watch out for the public. We remind the public that if there is an accident on a closed road, they are not covered by insurance.”

Tairawhiti Roads journey manager Helen Harris says some of the major issues including removing forestry debris and silt are not easy fixes.

“We are immensely proud of the work that is being undertaken by Downer and their sub-contractors, they are working in very trying conditions, it is wet, cold and the work is hard.”

While the roading team is still assessing the damage, the cost is estimated to be around $10 million. Tairawhiti Roads will seek government funding to assist.

The Eastland Wood Council have offered full support and resources to Council and Tairawhiti Roads to reopen roads and ensure access for landowners.

For up-to-date road information, visit our website http://www.gdc.govt.nz/road-information/

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