Slip-damaged State Highway 1 is expected to reopen by Saturday, which is a crucial step in helping storm-battered Northland’s recovery, Civil Defence says.
Northland Civil Defence spokesman Graeme MacDonald said roading authorities had been working 24/7 to bypass the slip south of Kawakawa, on a crucial part of the region’s roading network.
Food and other supplies were being delivered around the region via a series of long diversions, but the re-opening of the SH1 section would be important from both a practical and morale viewpoint, Mr MacDonald said.
“I suspect many Northlanders ? as well as being happy to see reduced travel costs and times and a more direct route to and from the Far North ? will also view this reopening in particular as a very visible indication that tangible progress is being made on the storm recovery front.”
The section of SH1 expected to reopen Saturday morning would be a sealed, single lane controlled by traffic lights, he said.
WeatherWatch.co.nz continues to forecast an incoming low this weekend for northern New Zealand – but the news looks more positive for flooded Northland properties.
Meanwhile, staff from all three district councils had been visiting flood-affected areas door-to-door to assess needs.
That process was largely complete in Moerewa in the Far North, but the council still had a presence there, Mr MacDonald said.
The Ministry of Social Development, which was working closely with other agencies in Northland, reported it had now dealt with more than 130 extra storm-related hardship cases across the region, largely in the Kawakawa, Kaikohe and Kaitaia areas.
Only a few cases had been reported in Whangarei and just one in Dargaville.
With school due to resume next week, firefighters had washed down all the hard surfaces at Moerewa Primary yesterday as a precaution in case they had been affected by sewage in floodwaters, Mr MacDonald said.
They were also still assisting with pumping in places in the settlement.
About 100 Top Energy customers were still without power, roughly a third of them in the Wekaweka area, in Hokianga.
Repair work was ongoing there, and it was now hoped electricity could be restored in the next day or two, he said.
Northpower reported today all major repair work was complete and it was now looking at rebuilding work that is required.
– NZ Herald/APNZ/Weatherwatch