Multiple main roads on the Coromandel peninsula remain closed following a deluge of heavy rain which saw fatal, raging floods and slips cause havoc across the North Island.
NZTA Waka Kotahi reported that State Highway 25A between Kōpū-Hikuai, a main road into the Coromandel peninsula, will remain closed for the foreseeable future due to the road collapsing.
Thames-Coromandel mayor Len Salt said the community is really feeling the impacts of the recent weather event - which comes on top of the wrath of Cyclone Hale, which hit earlier this month as well as a hard and long two years dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.
“People are used to this ... you know, we don’t want to have to be used to this,” said Salt.
“Our emergency crews are very experienced but they’re only very experienced because we’ve done it many times before and they’re used to doing this.”
The road along State Highway 25 between Kopu and Hikuai has collapsed. Photo / Supplied
Salt said local businesses especially have taken a hit.
“We had about nine days there through that Christmas and New Year period when, you know, the wheels were turning and people were out and about, the beaches were full and things were humming. After two years of Covid the business owners were thinking, you know, here we go, we’re back on track,” he said.
“But now they’ve taken another hit.”
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SH25 remains closed between Coromandel and Whitianga due to multiple slips on Whangapoua Hill.
The road is open south of Whitianga but NZTA is warning motorists to proceed with caution.
Salt said the slips on SH25 will have a long-term impact on the road and have forced the closure of local roads such as the 309 Rd.
“It’s going to have a fairly significant impact on accessing the peninsula in the long term,” said Salt.
Other local roads which are closed include Port Jackson Rd, Te Kouma Rd and the intersection of Weka St and Linton Cres in Whangamatā.
SH25 between Thames and Coromandel has reopened today after a slip at Ruamahanga bay between Waiomu and Tapu was cleared. However, a slip at Te Kouma Rd between Manaia and Coromandel is currently being cleared and Stop/Go traffic management is in place.
Torrential rainfall and flooding had caused many issues to roads in the Coromandel area. Photo / Hayden Woodward
NZTA advises motorists needing to leave the Coromandel area to follow these routes - from Whitianga, head south on SH25 to Waihī, then west using State Highway 2 or from Waiomu, head south on SH25, stay on SH25 to Mangatarata, then onto SH2.
“There are some closures on SH2 currently, check Journey Planner and follow signposted detours.”
Salt said the situation with the weather is dynamic and roading crews are ready to go if things were to change quickly.
“They can get on to a slip and clear it very quickly,” he said.
Salt’s advice for people was to keep up to date with information and stay off the roads.
“Give the crews a chance to get on top of it.”
Salt said the response to the aftermath of the weather event is two-fold: a short-term plan to get the wheels turning and a long-term plan relating to roading resilience and infrastructure.
“In the immediate term, our focus is on getting the west coast access up the coast road open and the southern access open, that depends on the weather and flooding situations and the slips.”
“Once we get a break in the weather we can get supplies through, we can get heavy traffic through again.”
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