Cyclone Gabrielle update 7 - Road and Bridge Assessments

Published 15 Feb 2023

Cyclone Gabrielle weather effects are weakening throughout the district but there still remains steady rainfall and winds. Rivers are still in high flows and there are many floods across the district.

The district’s road network has been affected with many slips reported and flooding.  A number of bridges have been totally submerged and some communities are still isolated or difficult to reach.

An aerial observation of the district’s road network was attempted on 14 February by helicopter but due to worsening weather, the helicopter had to abort its observation.

With the weather conditions now slowly improving Tararua District Council is now able to start the assessments of its roading network.  This will be a large task that will take a number of days to complete due to the scale of the damage.

We thank all residents for their patience and understanding as we work through the assessments and make sure our roads and bridges can be travelled on safely.

There is uncertainty with regard to the ability of teachers and students being able to reach schools, particularly in our more rural areas.  There is also the uncertainty of businesses not being able to access their staff.

There are currently about 40 roads closed throughout the district, 4 roads on single lane traffic only and 3 roads are closed to heavy traffic.  Our road assessments may result in adding to these numbers, but work will start to repair our roads and bridges.

Last night a number of people took refuge at the Civil Defence Centre set up in Dannevirke where food, water and medical assistance was available. Mayor Tracey Collis visited the people sheltering and said of the situation “We made the decision to evacuate the Dannevirke Lower Domain campground while it was still daylight and although the people staying there were worried and concerned, I was impressed by the great spirit and resilience they displayed.  

Many of the evacuees were international visitors and it was uplifting to see our community support everyone that stayed at our Civil Defence Centre, no matter where they came from. We would like to thank Ngātī Kahungunu ki Tāmaki nui-a-Rua for setting up the centre and for other members of the community that have been assisting in what has been an unprecedented event in our districts history”.