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Works complete on flood-prone highway

Waitaki App

Staff Reporter

27 June 2024, 3:39 AM

Works complete on flood-prone highwayState Highway One near Maheno should now be flood-proof, after seven months of work to make it higher. Photo: supplied

Work has been completed on the flood-prone section of State Highway One near Maheno.

The seven-month, $3 million project, was completed by Whitestone Contracting, on behalf of New Zealand Transport Agency Waka Kotahi and the Government, as part of nationwide work to reduce the risk of natural events, such as flooding, closing key highways, a statement from NZTA says.

Changing weather patterns had been increasing the frequency of the Kakanui River flooding the 350m section of highway, with it having to be closed every three to five years, for up to two days at a time.

The engineering improvements made in recent months aim to keep the road open and above water level, even in a one-in-50-year-flood.

Keeping communities and businesses connected during flood events is the aim, NZTA project manager Jason Forbes says.

The most effective, efficient, and affordable option of those investigated to reduce the flood risk at this location, was retaining the existing highway layout, and raising the road height by slightly over a metre. 

NZTA modelling showed this would reduce the amount of floodwater covering the highway and result in little if any increases in water on nearby property, given concerns about flooding in this low-lying area.

Jason commended the Whitestone team for its commitment to getting the project completed ahead of the winter period, while meeting all key requirements and coming in under budget.

More information on the project can be found on the NZTA website.

The new road layout should avoid a repeat of this 2022 flooding. Photo: supplied