Flooding cost expected to top $1m

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RICHARD.DAVISON@nullalliedpress.co.nz

As officials begin to take stock of recent flood damage, the costs for Clutha have started to mount up.

Due to the extent of the flooding during February 4 and 5, which led the Pomahaka River to rage through West Otago, and the Clutha to hit its highest level since 1999, full assessments of repair costs have not yet been completed by all authorities.

However, interim assessments by the Clutha District Council and the NZ Transport Agency suggest the final total will exceed $1.2 million.
Clutha service delivery group manager Jules Witt said the council was addressing ‘‘widespread’’ damage to roads, and lesser damage to water infrastructure.

More than 50 roads and highways throughout the district were closed at the peak of the flooding.

‘‘The worst affected areas were in the West Otago and Clydevale areas near the Pomahaka River,’’ Mr Witt said.

‘‘There is scour damage and the possibility of debris on roads across the district so we continue to ask travellers to take care on all roads.

‘‘The estimated cost of repair work is $1.05 million.’’
Water infrastructure including intakes would cost an additional estimated $100,000 to repair, he said.

‘‘[We expect] a couple of months to get through the bulk of the work, but a couple of larger jobs are likely to take longer where river protection work is also required.’’

NZTA senior network manager Chris Harris said most state highway damage in Clutha was also centred in West Otago (SH90), with lesser damage on SH1 and SH8.

‘‘The damage is predominantly scour and minor slips, with a section of damaged surfacing and pavement around the Pomahaka Bridge,’’ Mr Harris said.

‘‘Completion of remediation could take up to two months as we need to engage the services of subcontractors.

‘‘Our lead contractor and their supply partners are fully occupied on programmed work across the network currently.’’
Repair cost estimates were about $100,000 at present, he said.

Otago Regional Council engineering manager Michelle Miffin said staff were unable fully to assess damages and costs while they remained ‘‘in response mode’’.

However, she said the Balclutha flood protection and drainage scheme had performed well to date.

‘‘Our current focus is to ensure the flood protection scheme continues operating as intended.’’

Priorities for attention were the Hospital Rd flood bank in Balclutha, and the Waitepeka flood bank west of the Owaka highway.

‘‘We mitigated flood issues at these sites with sandbags, spillway modification, and the use of pumps and gates to manage water.

‘‘We’re working closely with the Clutha District Council, Otago Civil Defence and Emergency, and the community to prioritise work . . .’’

All three bodies urged continued care while driving in the district.

Mr Harris said the NZTA would like to thank everyone for their patience and adhering to temporary speed limits through affected areas while it completed reinstatement.

‘‘Reduced speeds are there to keep people safe in the meantime,’’ he said.