The NZ Transport Agency says work to reopen State Highway 1 continues near Kawakawa in Northland, but adds that damage from the recent storm is so extensive that it may take some time to fully restore the region's roading network.
Overnight, contractors continued work on a 100 metre-long detour to bypass the SH1 slip at Maromaku. Vegetation has been cleared and work is starting on the construction of the diversion.
"Our plan is to have the detour open by the end of the week if the weather holds. But this is a big slip and we have to be absolutely sure the ground is stable enough so that we can safely open the by-pass around the washout," says the Transport Agency's Regional Journey Manager Jacqui Hori-Hoult.
The main alternative route for all vehicles between the Far North and destinations further south remains SH12 through Dargaville and Kaikohe. The detour can be accessed from the SH1/SH12 intersection at the Brynderwyn Hills, or from SH14 between Whangarei and Dargaville. It may add up to 2 hours to journey times.
Ms Hori-Hoult says work to widen SH12 at Kaihu 30 kilometres north of Dargaville will be completed today. A 70 metre-long section of the highway was washed away by flood waters.
"There may be some delays at Kaihu and we do ask for drivers to be patient as we finish our safety work for them."
Ms Hori-Hoult says the Transport Agency is working closely with Northland's local authorities to ensure there are available alternative routes that are safe for drivers to use.
"Regardless of whether it is one of our state highways or a council local road, we are treating all of Northland's roads as one network and working together to keep detours open and safe while we undertake repair work," she says.
People using Ruapekapeka Road as a detour are reminded that it is unsealed and winding, and extreme care is needed. It is open only to light vehicles, and there is no access for heavy vehicles.
Mangakahia Road remains closed to heavy vehicles north of Twin Bridges.
South of Whangarei, crews are busy repairing potholes and clearing slips and drains.
"Although the storm has passed, our contractors are in clean up mode and it will take some time to bring the network back into its normal state. It is important that people drive to the conditions and slow down when passing work sites so we keep our contractors safe while they restore roads to a safe condition. It's a big job," Ms Hori-Hoult says.
For more information please contact:
Auckland/Northland Media Manager
NZ Transport Agency
T: 09 928 8720
M: 027 213 7616