Be prepared, be safe, as heavy rain hits the Lower North Island

Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

As the upper North Island recovers from wild weather and heavy rain, road users further south also need to be ready for bad weather.

A heavy rain warning is in place for Wairarapa, with another 70 to 100 mm of rain forecast for the eastern hills and Tararua Range.

For Wellington, the Metservice has a strong wind watch in force, with southeasterly winds approaching severe gale at times.

It means motorbike riders and drivers of large vehicles need to take care in exposed areas, such as State Highway 2, Remutaka Hill.

The ongoing wet weather means there is also a strong likelihood of slips, rock falls, fallen trees, and localised flooding across the state highway network on the lower North Island.

Road users should drive to the conditions, watch their speed and following distances, and ensure they are prepared for hazards on the road.

Drivers should also check road and weather conditions before they travel.

Metservice weather warnings(external link)

Waka Kotahi Wellington traffic updates(external link)

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Progress clearing State Highway 1 today – but additional closures in region

Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

Despite the unprecedented weather, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency contractors have made faster-than-expected progress in clearing significant slips on State Highway 1 (SH1) today.

“Our contractors have made significant progress clearing SH1 over the Brynderwyn Hills, where sizeable slips have closed the highway between the State Highway 12 intersection and Waipu. We still have trees to clear and the road needs to be cleaned and swept before we can re-open,” says Jacqui Hori-Hoult, Regional Manager of Maintenance and Operations for Waka Kotahi.

She says, “At Pūhoi, most of the mud and debris blocking the highway has been cleared.  The next step is felling unstable trees. Work continues until nightfall, and we aim to open the road by midday tomorrow, weather pending.

“However, we must stress that the risk is not over around the region. Some slips continue to move. Flooding is now impacting parts of Gisborne, the Bay of Plenty and low-lying areas in the Waikato, with rising river levels also posing a risk. There are new road closures,” says Ms Hori-Hoult.

While showers have eased in Auckland today, heavy rain is forecast again tomorrow. There is the potential for rain to affect other highways in the North Island, with heavy rain expected in the north half of the North Island through to the middle of next week.

“We echo the National Emergency Management Agency’s advice – put your safety first and don’t take any chances. Ring 111 if your life, health or property is in danger. Do not try to walk, play, swim, or drive in floodwater. Even water just 15 centimetres deep can sweep you off your feet, and half a metre of water will carry away most vehicles.

“We are still very much in an emergency response phase, so our number one priority remains safety for road users and our teams, who are putting in extraordinary effort to clear highways,” says Ms Hori-Hoult.

State Highway closures as of 7pm

Northland Region

SH1 Orewa to Warkworth, Northbound:

Significant progress has been made clearing SH1 at Pūhoi today.

SH1 Brynderwyn to Waipu:

  • Due to a slips on the Brynderwyn Hills, SH1 remains closed from SH12 intersection to Waipu. The road must be cleaned and swept before it can re-open. Expect delays. Freight and heavy vehicles should detour via SH12 – light vehicles via Waipu/Mangawhai.

Auckland region

SH1 Bawden Rd to Greville Rd:

  • Due to a slip, SH1 between Bawden and Greville Rd Northbound has only one lane open. Expect delays.

SH1 Northbound Off-ramp to Southeastern Highway:

  • Closed due to flooding. Expect delays.

SH16 Great North Road Off-ramp and Great North:

  • Due to flooding and underslips, SH16 Great North Road off-ramp is closed. Expect delays.

Waikato

SH25 Thames to Coromandel:

  • Due to a slip at Ruamahunga, the highway is closed between Waiomu and Tapu.
    No detour available.

SH25A Kopu to Hikuai:

  • A large section of the road at summit of SH25A between Kopu and Hikuai has collapsed late this afternoon.
    The highway is closed until further notice. The Tapu-Coroglen and 309 roads are also closed.
    Detour is State Highway 2 via Karangahake Gorge.

The collapse at the summit of SH25A between Kopu and Hikuai, Coromandel.

SH3 Te Kūiti

SH37 Waitomo

Bay of Plenty/Gisborne

SH29 Lower Kaimai to Tauriko:

  • Due to a large slip at near Ruahihi Road the highway is closed between Poripori Road and Tauriko.
  • A detour is available via Poripori Road.

SH2 between Ōpōtiki and Gisborne:

  • The highway is closed due to flooding and slips.

Delays are likely in multiple locations as road crews work to restore state highway routes.

“This is an on-going event. If you must travel, exercise extreme caution in affected areas. Drive to the conditions, which means keeping a safe following distance and dropping your speed. Be prepared for some road surfaces to be rough where rain has stripped top layers of the seal and watch for flooding and other debris on the road,” says Ms Hori-Hoult.

Please check road and weather conditions before your journey:

Waka Kotahi Journeys(external link)

Metservice Weather Warnings(external link)

For more information on the Auckland storm event see:

https://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/(external link)

https://at.govt.nz/about-us/news-events/service-disruptions/severe-weather-impact-across-the-auckland-area/(external link)

https://www.civildefence.govt.nz/(external link)

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Police increasing patrols in flood-hit areas

Source: New Zealand Police (District News)

Police will be carrying out extra patrols in flood-affected parts of Tāmaki Makaurau.

With a number of people unable to return to their homes at present, Police are re-deploying available staff to help.

They will be conducting reassurance patrols on streets and at vulnerable properties.

We understand many people will be worried, and these patrols aim to help bring some piece of mind for those who can’t yet get home.

Neighbours are urged to look out for each other and call Police if they see anything suspicious.

Call 111 if you see suspicious activity as it happens, or 105 if it’s after the fact.

ENDS

Slips, State Highway 2, Te Karaka

Source: New Zealand Police (District News)

There are reports of slips on State Highway 2 at Te Karaka, completely blocking the highway. 

Motorists should expect long delays while contractors clear road, and anyone who needs to travel in the region is urged to take care. 

Motorists are encouraged to visit the Waka Kotahi Journey Planner website – www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz(link is external) – before they travel for real-time travel information, and updates on delays, roadworks and road closures.

ENDS

Issued by the Police Media Centre

Te Kuiti blocked due to flooding

Source: New Zealand Police (District News)

A number of roads in Te Kuiti have been closed due to flooding.

The Mangaekewa Stream has overflowed following heavy rainfall, and motorists should delay their travel, or use an alternative route around the area.

Our staff are working with Civil Defence Emergency Management, local councils and other agencies in response.

We urge people to avoid any unnecessary travel and if they must travel, take extra care.

Motorists are encouraged to visit the Waka Kotahi Journey Planner website – www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz – before they travel for real-time travel information, and updates on delays, roadworks and road closures.

Ends
Issued by Police Media Centre

Team effort to evacuate Pukekohe rest home

Source: New Zealand Police (District News)

Quick action by Police, FENZ, Community Patrols NZ and nearby community members saw 30 residents evacuated from a Pukekohe rest home last night as flood waters rose and threatened the facility.

Officers were called to the premises about 9pm on Friday, 27 January, where water was gushing down a driveway and into the building, putting those inside at risk.

Police had blocked off the road due to concerns about rising water levels, and staff called for vans to be brought to a safe point.

Those involved in the rescue waded through waist-deep water and brought all the residents to safety. They were transferred by van to shelter at Pukekohe Hospital.

Fortunately no-one was injured during the incident.

Counties Manukau South Area Commander Inspector Joe Hunter says he is proud of the contribution his staff have made to rescue efforts overnight.

“This is just one example of many where our staff and other emergency services, like our Fire and Emergency colleagues, have gone above and beyond in unprecedented circumstances here in Tāmaki Makaurau.

“We’re proud to be part of a group of people that work so hard in dangerous situations to ensure others are safe.

“We will continue to support our lead agencies however we can as the clean-up continues.”

ENDS

Flooding, roads closed, Te Kuiti

Source: New Zealand Police (District News)

The Mangaekewa Stream in Waikato is overflowing due to the severe weather in the region.

Due to this, several streets in Te Kuiti are blocked including The Esplanade, Massey Street, Rata Street, Lawrence Street, and Ngarongo Street. Other roads around the area are also blocked.

Our staff are working with Civil Defence Emergency Management, local councils, and other agencies in response.

Diversions are being put in place and motorists are advised to avoid the area.

ENDS

Issued by Police Media Centre

Multiple state highway closures due to extremely heavy rainfall

Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency contractors are working hard to restore access to state highways affected by the extraordinary weather experienced in the upper North Island in the last 24 hours.

“Auckland has received an unprecedented amount of rain in a short period of time, which has had an unusual and severe impact on our network. We’ve never seen anything like it here,” says Jacqui Hori-Hoult, Regional Manager of Maintenance and Operations for Waka Kotahi.

Heavy rainfall has caused flooding across parts of Northland, Auckland and the Coromandel.

A high number of roads have been impacted by surface flooding and slips. Heavy rain is forecast to continue for the Auckland region, where a state of emergency has been declared. There is also a weather warning in place for the Bay of Plenty and road users are advised to check our journey planner before they travel.

“While we’re still in this emergency response phase, our priority is everyone’s safety and getting highways open as quickly as possible.

“Contractors worked hard in extreme conditions overnight to get State Highway 16 (SH16) open, carting 48 truckloads of slip material off the road from one site alone. Crews have also cleared the slip that closed State Highway 1 (SH1) at Dome Valley,” says Ms Hori-Hoult.

There is limited access between Auckland and Northland.

“A key challenge for us is SH1 over the Brynderwyn Hills where a number of trees have come down and sizeable slips have closed the highway from the State Highway 12 intersection to Waipu. We have multiple crews and geotechnical teams working to clear the road but it’s likely to remain closed for the remainder of today,” she says.

Multiple slips and fallen trees have closed SH1 over the Brynderwyn Hills.

“We ask everyone to stay home where possible. If you must travel, exercise extreme caution. Drive to the conditions, which means keeping a safe following distance and dropping your speed. Be prepared for some road surfaces to be rough where rain has stripped top layers of the seal and watch for flooding and other debris on the road,” says Ms Hori-Hoult.

State Highway closures as of 1pm

SH1 Orewa to Warkworth, Northbound

  • Due to slips and flooding, SH1 is closed between Woodcocks Road in Warkworth and Grand Drive in Orewa. Multiple crews working to clear but the road is not expected to open today.
    Expect delays. Access is only via SH16 which is open but with surface issues due to scouring of the road surface.

Slips and large fallen trees have forced the closure of SH1 at Pūhoi.

SH1 Brynderwyn to Waipu

  • Due to a slips the Brynderwyn Hills, SH1 is closed from SH12 intersection to Waipu. Likely to be closed for remainder of today. Expect delays. Freight and heavy vehicles should detour via SH12 – light vehicles via Waipu/Mangawhai.

SH1 Bawden Rd to Greville Rd

  • Due to a slip, SH1 between Bawden and Greville Rd Northbound one lane is open. Expect delays.

SH1 Northbound Off-ramp to South Eastern Highway

  • Closed. Expect delays.

SH16 Great North Road Off-ramp and Great North

  • Due to flooding and underslips, SH16 Great North Road off-ramp is closed. Expect delays.

SH25 Thames to Coromandel

  • Due to a slip at Ruamahunga, the highway is closed between Waiomu and Tapu.
  • No detour available.

SH25A Kopu to Hikuai

  • Due to further cracking at a large washout location, SH25A between Kopu and Hikuai is closed until further notice. The Tapu-Coroglen and 309 roads are also closed.
  • Detour is State Highway 2 via Karangahake Gorge.

Cracking has deteriorated at the summit of SH25A and a large section of the road has now slumped.

SH29 Lower Kaimai to Tauriko

  • Due to a large slip at near Ruahihi Road the highway is closed between Poripori Road and Tauriko.
  • A detour is available via Poripori Road.

Delays are likely in multiple locations as road crews work to restore state highway routes.

Waka Kotahi apologises for its updates and information about last night’s events not being as timely as they should have been. We know the public wants up to date information as quickly as possible in situations like this and we are sorry we did not meet those expectations.

Please check road and weather conditions before your journey:

For more information on the Auckland storm event see:

Plan ahead for a safe, enjoyable journey. Keep up to date with:

We have a vision of zero deaths and serious injuries on New Zealand roads. Learn more about:

Storm News – Auckland weather update #6

Source: Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Fire and Emergency crews responded to 719 weather related incidents in Waitemata, Auckland city and Counties Manukau between 12.01 am Friday morning (27 January) and 7.30am today (Saturday 28 January)
District Manager Brad Mosby says there were 2,242 111 calls answered by Fire and Emergency Communications Centre staff, which resulted in 2074 calls for assistance during the weather event.
“This was an unprecedented number of calls and we had to prioritise. We had every available career and volunteer crew on the road responding to the most serious events.
These included:
  • 126 rescues of people trapped in cars and houses, or involved in motor vehicle crashes
  • 84 priority one incidents (where there was a confirmed threat to people)
  • 237 priority two incidents (where there was a possible threat to people)
The rest of the 719 responses comprised private fire alarm activations, structure fires and medical call outs.
Today Fire and Emergency is working through the backlog of around 1355 less urgent 111 calls from last night, contacting callers to see whether they still need assistance this morning.
“We are helping dewater people’s homes and carrying out damage assessment, working closely with Auckland Emergency Management and our emergency services partners,” Brad Mosby says.
“I want to thank all our people who’ve been involved with the response effort to assist their communities during this unprecedented event.”   

Auckland/Northland/Coromandel state highways update

Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

Bad weather continues to affect the status of state highways across the upper North Island.

Contractors are working hard to restore access, but a number of key routes remain closed this morning. Because of the extreme and dangerous weather conditions, there was limited work road crews could do overnight.

Previous closures on State Highway 16 have been resolved and this route is now open. Contractors have also cleared the slip that closed State Highway 1 at Dome Valley.

The under construction Puhoi and Warkworth motorway was used overnight to divert traffic and help drivers away from flooded areas and closed roads. This was a temporary and emergency measure.

Drivers must take extra care on the roads and avoid travel where possible in areas badly affected by flooding.

Please check road and weather conditions before your journey.

Waka Kotahi Journey Planner(external link)
Metservice Weather Warnings(external link)

Road users should be prepared for localised flooding, slips, rock and tree falls, and other hazards. Drive to the conditions and watch your speed and following distances. Delays are likely as road crews work to restore state highway routes.

State highway closures

SH1 Orewa to Warkworth, Northbound

  • Due to flooding and slips, SH1 is closed between Grand Drive and Warkworth. Expect delays.

SH1 Warkworth to Puhoi

  • Due to slips and flooding, SH1 is closed between Woodcocks Road and Grand Drive. Expect delays

SH1 Whangarei to Brynderwyn

  • Due to a slip south in the Brynderwyn Hills, SH1 is closed from SH12 intersection to Waipu. Expect delays. Freight and heavy vehicles dhould detour via SH12 – light vehicles via Waipu/Mangawhai

SH1 Mangamuka Gorge

  • Due to multiple large slips and dropouts, SH1 is closed between Kitchen Rd and Makene Rd through the Mangamuka Gorge. Please use an alternative route until further notice.
  • This is from last year’s weather event. Detour via SH10

SH1 Northern Busway

  • Due to flooding and road damage, SH1 Northern Busway is closed. Expect delays.

SH1 Fanshawe St to Curren St (Saint Marys Bay)

  • Due to slips, SH1 between Fanshawe St and Curran St Northbound one lane is open. Expect delays.

SH1 Bawden Rd to Greville Rd

  • Due to a slip, SH1 between Bawden and Greville Rd Northbound one lane is open. Expect delays.

SH1 SEART off-ramp

  • Due to flooding, SH1 SEART Off-ramp southbound is closed. Expect delays.

SH16 Great North Road Off-ramp and Great North

  • Due to flooding and slips, SH16 Great North Road off-ramp is closed. Expect delays.

SH25 Thames to Coromandel

  • Due to a slip, road is closed between Waiomu and Tapu.
  • No detour available

SH25A Kopu to Hikuai

  • Due to further cracking at a large washout location, SH25A between Kopu and Hikuai is closed until further notice. Plan ahead and use alternative routes.
  • Detour via SH26/SH2

Waka Kotahi apologises for its updates and information about last night’s events not being as timely as they should have been. We know the public wants up to date information as quickly as possible in situations like this and we are sorry we did not meet those expectations.

Plan ahead for a safe, enjoyable journey. Keep up to date with:

We have a vision of zero deaths and serious injuries on New Zealand roads. Learn more about: