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Heavy rain watches lifted as workers scramble to repair SH6 on West Coast

Work on State Highway 6 on West Coast after heavy rain

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Workers have been out since dawn trying to clear SH6 on the West Coast so it can re-open to traffic.
Photo: Supplied / Waka Kotahi

MetService lifts heavy rain watches across much of the country but substantial amounts of rain still fell over the West Coast of the South Island overnight.

Road crews have been out since dawn and have made good progress working to reopen State Highway 6 between Ross and Haast.

The section of state highway was closed yesterday afternoon after heavy rain brought down trees and slips along the route, including a large slip at Lake Ianthe between Ross and Harihari.

Work on State Highway 6 on West Coast after heavy rain

The slip on SH6 near Lake Ianthe, Harihari.
Photo: Supplied / Waka Kotahi

A Waka Kotahi spokesperson said sections of the state highway between Haast Pass and Franz Josef, and Ross and Whataroa were on track to reopen about midday.

Travellers were being encouraged to consult Waka Kotahi’s Journey Planner.

Further work was required on the road between Whataroa and Franz Josef which remains closed as the bad weather has brought down powerlines.

The spokesperson said the bad weather has left its mark on the highway with lane and speed restrictions in some places, particularly at the larger slip site near Lake Ianthe.

Further inspections to SH6 will be carried out after river levels along the lower West Coast recede.

MetService duty meteorologist Clare O’Connor said 70mm of rain fell on Haast and some areas in the inland ranges of Westland saw in excess of 200mm.

She said conditions in northern parts of the country have eased but some isolated showers were still possible today.

O’Connor said the country could expect more settled weather in the week ahead.

More options available on Coromandel roads

Coromandel mayor Len Salt said holidaymakers have options heading home today, as more of the region’s roads are back open.

State highway 25A remains closed between Kopu and Hikaui, as does the gravel road between Tapu and Coroglen.

However, he was happy that travellers can now choose between travelling home north through Coromandel town, or south through Whangamata.

Salt said people still needed to drive carefully as there may be remaining dirt or debris on the sections of the road that were cleared.

Appeal for help for flood-hit Auckland pupils

KidsCan said Auckland schools affected by the flood were in desperate need of food, clothing and shoes.

The charity has been strengthening the help provided to more than 60 schools and 31 early childhood centres in Tāmaki Makaurau, most of them shattered from last week’s heavy rain.

Chief executive Julie Chapman said in most places, everything was destroyed.

She said the places affected were being assessed and food packages and clothing donations were being distributed.

The SPCA has appealed to pet owners affected by the flood to contact council shelters for help if they needed to temporarily find a home for their animals.

The charity has had to close several centres in Auckland due to flood damage.

SPCA chief executive Gabby Clezy said although centres were likely to remain closed for a while, the charity was providing care packages, including food, medication and bedding for animals.

She said donations of blankets, towels and flat sheets were needed.

Flood response inquiry just a starting point – councillor

Auckland councillor Daniel Newman has welcomed a review into the council’s flooding response, but said a more in-depth one will be needed in the future.

Floodwaters were high on Potter Avenue in Mount Roskill on 1 February.

Mayor Wayne Brown has initiated an inquiry into how the council handled the response to the flooding that caused devastation across the city.
Photo: RNZ / Rayssa Almeida

Mayor Wayne Brown’s office at the weekend announced a review into the immediate response to the flooding, to be led by former police commissioner Mike Bush.

Newman hoped the review would bring transparency and information about what could be done to immediately effect change, but said more work will be needed.

The initial budget for the review is $100,000, with the aim of it being completed in one month.

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