'It's dangerous' – Holidaymakers heading home told to completely avoid storm-hit Coromandel highway

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Holidaymakers heading back home today are being told to completely avoid the storm damaged Coromandel highway.

State Highway 25, also known as Thames Coast Road is currently closed to the public from Tararu to Manaia and the New Zealand Transport Agency is warning it may be closed for a considerable time.

"In many places seawalls have been damaged and whole sections of the road have been washed away," says NZTA system manager Karen Boyt.

Other parts of the road have been lifted up.

In a video posted to the Thames-Coromandel District Council Facebook page, local controller Gary Towler urged those returning home to start back at work tomorrow to use East Coast Road.

"Emergency services and essential transport is permitted but if you are leaving the peninsula today to head home or head off the peninsula, then please go the East Coast Road," Mr Towler said. 

"Please do not come down the Thames Coast Road. It is dangerous, it is causing congestion. We are just saying stay away because it is not going to help us in our recovery mode."

Escorted convoys for residents only will continue today between Tararu and Te Puru.

Cordons will be manned, forcing all through traffic to take the highway on the eastern side of the peninsula.

However, it is hoped full public convoys can be taken through the stretch of road tomorrow.

"We also ask local people who don't have an urgent need, to refrain from joining a convoy, as this slows down our ability to complete repair work," said NZTA's Karen Boyt.

Crews have to repair about 10km of damaged highway.

The Thames-Coromandel District Council says all local roads are now open.

The power is off to around 70 properties in Thames/Opito but should be restored today. 

Despite all the rain, a total fire ban remains in place for the Coromandel.

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