High winds and fallen trees have caused the closure of a section of State Highway 5 near Taupo. The road will remain closed overnight, because ongoing high winds in the area mean contractors will not be able to clear the road until the winds die down.
Kaye Clark, NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) State Highway Manager, says contractors will not clear the road until the environment is safe.
“The contractors can’t go in while the winds are still high and trees and branches are falling. Once the wind dies down it wont take long to clear the highway, it doesn’t look like that will happen tonight, so our contractors will be on site at first light tomorrow morning.”
Motorists travelling between Taupo and Rotorua will be diverted onto Broadlands Road, which runs between Reporoa and Taupo.
Mrs Clark says Broadlands Road runs parallel to the State Highway on the opposite side of the Waikato River and the detour shouldn’t add significant time to travellers’ journeys.
The storm has meant that NZTA’s contractors have been very busy since early this morning dealing with a number of trees blown down on various highways around the Taupo area. A short section of SH30 near Ongoroto Road was also closed this afternoon due to fallen trees and debris on the road, however it has since been cleared.
"We urge all drivers to continue to take extreme care in the region, drive to the conditions, and allow more time for their journeys so that they can reach their destinations safely," says Mrs Clark.
“Before starting their journeys we’d encourage people to check with the NZTA's freephone: 0800 4 HIGHWAYS or 0800 44 44 49, or see our 'Road and Travel' section of the NZTA's website www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/index.html(external link).”