Wait for water to recede

SouthRoads crew Ian Schroeder (left) and Daryl Falconer pour concrete into a hole in Ridge Rd, off SH83 at Peebles, yesterday, one of hundreds of repairs needed after flooding in North Otago this week. Water carved out the hole, emerging about 20m below the road from a bank in the forest (right). Photo by David Bruce.
SouthRoads crew Ian Schroeder (left) and Daryl Falconer pour concrete into a hole in Ridge Rd, off SH83 at Peebles, yesterday, one of hundreds of repairs needed after flooding in North Otago this week. Water carved out the hole, emerging about 20m below the road from a bank in the forest (right). Photo by David Bruce.
Road repairs in the Waitaki district will "step up" next week once floodwaters have receded and it becomes clearer what work needs to be done after heavy rain during the past fortnight culminated in major flooding this week.

SouthRoads Oamaru branch manager Russell den Dulk said the company, which has the maintenance contract for Waitaki District Council roads, was bringing in extra crew and machinery from Dunedin and Invercargill to help with the task.

Yesterday, it had five diggers throughout the district, along with other crews and equipment, helping reopen roads, the priority at present. The company was also using local subcontractors to help.

"It's been a pretty big event and it's still quite wet out there. What we are trying to do is get as many of these roads open, bearing in mind there is potentially another event coming next week," he said.

"It's about getting people access."

Many roads still require caution.

Once temporary repairs have been made to reopen roads, the focus will move to permanent repairs.

How quickly that will happen will depend on being able to see what damage has occurred and no more rain, despite forecasts for more tomorrow and Monday.

At mid-afternoon yesterday, the number of roads closed had been reduced from 45 on Thursday to 34, according to the Waitaki council website. Problems ranged from washouts, holes and surface loss, to a major slip on Chalmers Rd, Palmerston.

The council has estimated damage could cost between $500,000 and $1 million, although a detailed inspection is yet to be done. Floods in May 2010 caused $1.5 million damage.

Civil Defence is monitoring the situation, and while some roads are still closed, it has not had any requests for assistance.

Fresh water is being made available to those who need it as some rural water schemes are closed because of discoloured water.

Consumers on five schemes have been advised to conserve water.

- david.bruce@odt.co.nz