Timaru remains in State of Emergency with flooding closing two highways

The Timaru District remains in State of Emergency with SH1 still closed, and communication issues hampering relief efforts.

State Highway 1 Bridge at Rangitata is still closed, as is State Highway 72 at Arundel. 

Police say work is being done to try and clear the roads but due to the enormity of the job, the roads will be closed for the coming days.

The Timaru District Council has advised that work will be beginning as soon as possible to restore the necessary north south link at Arundel this afternoon.

It said the Timaru Civil Defence is prioritising the upper Rangitata bridge crossing as it will see water levels drop to a manageable level hours before the downstream bridge at State Highway 1.

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The flooding is being called a once in 20-years event. Source: 1 NEWS

Timaru Emergency Operations Centre Controller Justin Bagust says the district roading contractors are now assembling heavy machinery at the southern approach to the road to be ready as soon as the water levels subside.

“We’re aware of the importance of the north south link and by prioritising this route we can hopefully have a passable solution for people as soon as possible," said Mr Bagust.

“It still remains a dynamic situation, and we can’t give any indication of a timeline at the moment, but we’ll have updates as soon as we can.

“We’d ask people to stay where they are at the moment and not to drive up to the bridge, as it will still be some time before we have any progress and we need to ensure access for heavy vehicles and supplies," he said. 

The Timaru District Council is attempting to communicate with the region through its Facebook page, though poor internet connections due to the weather events have been hampering communication efforts. 

Most of Spark's South Island network outages have been restored

A state of emergency was declared yesterday and evacuations of some residents were ordered by Civil Defence.

Information centres remain open at Temuka and Geraldine and police have asked people to avoid the closed highways.