The NZ Transport Agency kept State Highway 1 on either side of Kaikōura closed this morning after minor rockfalls and surface flooding in several places. The highway to the south between Peketa and Goose Bay and the northern link between Clarence and Mangamaunu remains closed.
The inland road (Route 70) via Waiau and Mt Lyford remains open as the road into Kaikōura.
Drivers travelling between Picton and Christchurch are encouraged to use the Lewis Pass alternate route (via State Highways 63, 6, 65 and 7) today and possibly tomorrow also, says Transport Agency Journey Manager Tresca Forrester. “We have more certainty around this route in the current weather,” she says.
Another band of rain is forecast for early afternoon into tonight which may affect the highways closures so drivers should continue to check routes before heading off.
“Around 76 mm of rain fell on coastal Kaikōura since midnight Thursday. The forecast is for rain to ease off followed by a second wave later today and tonight.
“Anyone planning a journey between Christchurch and Picton should always check www.nzta.govt.nz/p2c (external link) , or call 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49) before travelling to check which route is available and is most suitable for their trip.
The Transport Agency recommends drivers check information at least two hours before travel and at key decision points along the route including checking the electronic signs with real-time information at key locations including Picton, Blenheim and Waipara.
There is surface flooding in many places today, in towns and on rural roads and highways. The Transport Agency asks everyone to slow down, watch for flooding signage or water on the roads, remember to leave longer following distances between cars and drive with care and patience. Posted speed limits may be too high in rain and flooding conditions so people need to use their own judgement and err on side of caution.