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Uawa roads still closed due to ex-tropical Cyclone Hale

24 January 2023

The community is being asked to expect delays to when the Council roading network from around Tolaga Bay will reopen to heavy freight.

Council’s Director Community Lifelines David Wilson says 22 roads are still closed due to ex-tropical Cyclone Hale.

“We have over 300 known faults which include slips, dropouts, fallen trees and damaged bridge abutments.

“Council is making every effort to get routes restored as soon as possible with over 29 work crews out on the network and this will continue into this week.

“Our goal is to reopen roads for families stranded by the impact of ex-cyclone Hale and allow utility providers access to their infrastructure. Council staff will then re-inspect these roads to determine whether they can safely support heavy freight use.  
Last week bridge engineers carried out structural inspections on five bridges impacted by slash and river erosion along Tauwhareparae Road.

Mr Wilson says unfortunately initial inspections showed that roads in the Uawa catchment, especially Tauwhareparae road, could be closed to heavy freight for three to four weeks.

“We are prioritising alternative routes this week along Hokoroa, Ihungia and Mata roads but many of these have slips and dropouts as well”.

“With ex-cyclone Hale adding more rainfall onto our already saturated network, staff are concerned that there is a real risk of truck rollovers. We are looking at all options which include trucks but no trailer units.  

“We acknowledge that the lengthy road closures will cause stress and uncertainty for affected people, with restricted or no access. We also understand the importance of heavy freight access that supports our rural communities. But the damage from ex-Cyclone Hale in this area is significant.”

“We would like to thank the many landowners in the area who have made their properties available for silt and slash removal to speed up the recovery” says Mr Wilson.

Council and Waka Kotahi staff conducted a joint inspection of the road damage on the 19 January to help fast-track funding decisions for urgent works that are required.