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Otago Travellers Advised To Delay Journeys Tonight

With heavy rain forecast to continue overnight, Otago holidaymakers are being advised to consider whether they can delay their travel until Sunday.

Matt Alley, the Group Controller for Emergency Management Otago, said that many major routes were affected by surface flooding, slips and debris.

Three state highways around the region are already closed and many motorists using local roads are having to take detours or navigate hazards. MetService’s heavy rain warning predicts the intense rain will continue until at least 3am from Clutha to North Otago, and the Otago Regional Council’s flood team are modelling significant rises in river levels, which are likely to cause further surface flooding that will impact roads.

“As we head towards nightfall, driving is only going to get trickier in much of Otago,” Mr Alley said. “Staying where you are for tonight is a better option than being stranded in your vehicle or needing to be rescued from a dangerous situation.”

As at 5.30pm, the NZTA / Waka Kotahi advised the following highway closures:

  • SH6 between Kingston and Queenstown due to slips and flooding
  • SH1 from Maheno to Reidston due to flooding
  • SH87 from Kyeburn to Outram due to a bridge washout at Kokonga
  • SH83 Otematata to Aviemore due to flooding

Mr Alley said Emergency Management Otago had been liaising closely with Police and local Councils during the day and would continue to monitor the situation into the evening. “At this stage there is nothing that would escalate our situation to the point that civil defence needed to activate, but we have staff and resources available across the region if that changes,” he said.

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