Flooding north of Oamaru investigated

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A working group has been set up to look at the issues causing ongoing flooding on SH1 north of Oamaru near Pukeuri and Hilderthorpe during periods of wet weather.

Dr Gavin Palmer, Otago Regional Council director engineering, hazards and science, said representatives from the ORC, Waitaki District Council, Lower Waitaki Irrigation Company and Transit NZ have all agreed to work together to solve the issue of flooding and subsequent road closures.

Dr Palmer said the group has had one meeting in Oamaru.

“It is important for the investigation to be holistic and robust,” he said.

“We shouldn’t be looking at little bits of the problem in isolation.”

Some maintenance work has already been carried out at Hilderthorpe to make flood water flow more freely, Mr Palmer said.

Waitaki District Council roading manager, Michael Voss, said extra resilience work has also been carried out on Seven Mile Road, which has been relied on as a detour route to and from Oamaru during periods of flooding on SH1.

“Seven Mile Road has coped quite well,” Mr Voss said.

“Water channels and side drains have been cleaned up which has been jointly funded by Transit NZ.”

Mr Voss said he hoped representatives from KiwiRail would be part of the investigation into SH1 in case there were issues with the rail embankment and that the working party would be looking into everything, including what was happening up and downstream and checking for blockages at the outlets to sea.

Transit New Zealand representative, Ian Duncan, who is in charge of organising the working party could not be contacted.

By LINDA MCCARTHY