Roading contractors are working flat-out to get the roading network back in action and drivers around the district over the long weekend are being urged to drive to the conditions and plan ahead with maintenance and road closures still in place.
Waka Kotahi South Island Journey Manager Tresca Forrester said driving through the Canterbury region this weekend expect the state highways and local roads will have traffic management and speed restrictions as work is ongoing after the extreme rainfall.
Crews will be out and about in several places. The road surface may be rough and have potholes in places – slow down if in doubt.
There is also a number of rally events on including the Brass Monkey motorcycle rally and the Irishman vintage car rally and an increase of these vehicles are expected on South Island roads.
‘‘We want everyone to get to their destinations and back again safely.
“Expect the roads to be busy, especially Friday and Monday so please allow extra time to get to your destination.”
“The Ashburton River/Hakatere Bridge on SH1 is open to traffic (light vehicles and trucks but not vehicles with an Overweight permit) between 7am – 7pm (daytime) but restricted to light vehicles only overnight from 7pm – 7am.
The detour for heavy vehicles after 7pm is via Arundel-Rakaia Gorge Road/Inland Scenic Route.
‘‘There is damage along this route, particularly between Ashburton Staveley Road and Forks Road, so please follow the signposted speed limits and drive with care.’’
Access to some of those roads is still restricted including to Ashburton Forks, Valetta, Greenstreet and Hackthorne. Ashburton District Council have a live roading map of closures and roading works available through their website.
Vehicles towing a trailer or caravan overnight also need to take into account their vehicle weight and not exceed 3500kg to be able to use the Ashburton bridge overnight. The weight restriction may exclude some motorhomes.
There are also further restrictions and detours in place south of the district around Winchester which is badly damaged.
Full details at NZTA website www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz for real-time updates.
“Across the whole South Island quite different conditions can affect our roads over the same weekend, so people need to be prepared and stay alert.
“Take regular breaks and have food, water and warm clothing in your car in case you need to stay put at any stage.”
People can check the travel conditions before the leave by phoning 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49).