Forest access blocked

Road damage forces forestry workers on leave.

Road damage forces forestry workers on leave.

About 50 forestry workers have been placed on leave because there is no access to forests in the Uawa catchment area hit by the Queen’s Birthday flood — then hit again by this week’s heavy rain.

Workers affected include logging truck drivers, roading crews and forestry workers who were due to plant seedlings.

Hikurangi Forest Farms manager Ian Brown says it is “a nightmare”.

“We’ve got 12 crews, and eight of them are parked up. Roads are washed away, we can’t get anyone up there, or machinery, because of the road damage.

“We just don’t know when we can get in there. When we turn around, another road is gone. It is a bit of an unknown at the moment.”

Mr Brown said Hikurangi were at the stage where the company was about to cancel orders and shipping of logs. They were talking to the Government about the finanical impact but the details of that impact were confidential, he said.

Mr Brown said Hikurangi’s Optilog plant in Dunstan Road had not been operational for two days because of a lack of wood brought in. It was back up and running today but not at full capacity.

It was a frustrating situation for everyone, he said.

Tolaga Bay landowners affected by the million tonnes of slash in the Uawa catchment have asked forestry contractors to stay off their land until it has dried out further. The land got even more waterlogged following the second round of heavy rain. The plan was to focus on the beach until farms became accessible.

Mr Brown said contractors continued the clean-up of Tolaga Bay Beach but it was a bit of a losing battle there as well.

“As it is cleaned up and piled up, more comes in from the sea.”

The plan was to move machinery from the beach to the farms. There the slash would be stacked in piles in an area agreed with the landowner, where it would be dried and burned.

Tairawhiti Roads carried out a second fly-over of the worst-affected areas of the rural roading network today to get a clearer picture of the damage.

Thirty rural roads are still closed by slips, slumps and silting.

Tairawhiti Roads journey manager Helen Harris said the storm caused road problems in places where there had not been problems before.

“What is happening in places like the Arakihi, Fernside, Mata and Hokoroa roads, for example, is that more and more slips are coming down. Each time the contractors get past one there are larger slips beyond it.”

Time taken to restore road access has affected Eastland Network’s restoration of power supply to some areas.

Ms Harris said the fly-over today was the quickest way to see additional problems on the rural roads network. Tairawhiti Roads general manager Dave Hadfield said today’s flight followed one after last week’s weather event.

“Our focus at the start of the week was getting roads open on the Poverty Bay Flats.

“We cannot get a clear assessment when areas are still flooded, which is why we have waited a couple of days for this second fly-over.

“Once the land starts drying out is when further slips often occur and now we can get a better assessment of that damage,” Mr Hadfield said.

Recovery manager John Clarke said the roading issues were a concern from an overall recovery perspective.

“We are now getting feedback from rural people who are perhaps running out of medication, and from others who need other forms of welfare support.

“We will be developing a day plan over the next 24 hours around that.

“We hope to get some more reliable and robust information from the fly-over today about the full extent of rural road problem.

“We can hopefully then develop a plan around getting roads open again for access, at least for four-wheel-drive vehicles.”

  • Roads still closed this morning: Rakauroa Road (between 0 and 15km due to dropouts at Morunga Station), Tauwhareparae Road (from Paroa intersection to 20km), Pehiri Road (just before and after the 26km mark), Kiore Road (whole road), Ihungia Road, Arakihi Road (whole road), Takapau Road (whole road), West Ho Road (from start of road to 1km mark), Fernside Road (whole road), Tuakau Road, Waiau Road (4km mark), Hokoroa Road (whole road), Mata Road (lower - whole road), Mata Road (upper - whole road), Bruce Road (Kanakanaia), Totangi Road, Tiniroto Road (36km the bluffs), Motu Road (past Motu township), Waimata Valley Road (from 17km mark to the end of the road), Paroa Road, Kanakanaia Road (1km to 3km), Te Kowhai Road (bridge), Ellmers Road (Hangaroa), Bailie Road (whole road), Utting Road (whole road), Bushy Knoll Road, Waitahaia Road (10km), Tikapa Road and Swarbrick Road.

A large number of other roads remain under “caution”.

A slip developing at Kopuaroa on State Highway 35 has been dealt with by contractors.

About 50 forestry workers have been placed on leave because there is no access to forests in the Uawa catchment area hit by the Queen’s Birthday flood — then hit again by this week’s heavy rain.

Workers affected include logging truck drivers, roading crews and forestry workers who were due to plant seedlings.

Hikurangi Forest Farms manager Ian Brown says it is “a nightmare”.

“We’ve got 12 crews, and eight of them are parked up. Roads are washed away, we can’t get anyone up there, or machinery, because of the road damage.

“We just don’t know when we can get in there. When we turn around, another road is gone. It is a bit of an unknown at the moment.”

Mr Brown said Hikurangi were at the stage where the company was about to cancel orders and shipping of logs. They were talking to the Government about the finanical impact but the details of that impact were confidential, he said.

Mr Brown said Hikurangi’s Optilog plant in Dunstan Road had not been operational for two days because of a lack of wood brought in. It was back up and running today but not at full capacity.

It was a frustrating situation for everyone, he said.

Tolaga Bay landowners affected by the million tonnes of slash in the Uawa catchment have asked forestry contractors to stay off their land until it has dried out further. The land got even more waterlogged following the second round of heavy rain. The plan was to focus on the beach until farms became accessible.

Mr Brown said contractors continued the clean-up of Tolaga Bay Beach but it was a bit of a losing battle there as well.

“As it is cleaned up and piled up, more comes in from the sea.”

The plan was to move machinery from the beach to the farms. There the slash would be stacked in piles in an area agreed with the landowner, where it would be dried and burned.

Tairawhiti Roads carried out a second fly-over of the worst-affected areas of the rural roading network today to get a clearer picture of the damage.

Thirty rural roads are still closed by slips, slumps and silting.

Tairawhiti Roads journey manager Helen Harris said the storm caused road problems in places where there had not been problems before.

“What is happening in places like the Arakihi, Fernside, Mata and Hokoroa roads, for example, is that more and more slips are coming down. Each time the contractors get past one there are larger slips beyond it.”

Time taken to restore road access has affected Eastland Network’s restoration of power supply to some areas.

Ms Harris said the fly-over today was the quickest way to see additional problems on the rural roads network. Tairawhiti Roads general manager Dave Hadfield said today’s flight followed one after last week’s weather event.

“Our focus at the start of the week was getting roads open on the Poverty Bay Flats.

“We cannot get a clear assessment when areas are still flooded, which is why we have waited a couple of days for this second fly-over.

“Once the land starts drying out is when further slips often occur and now we can get a better assessment of that damage,” Mr Hadfield said.

Recovery manager John Clarke said the roading issues were a concern from an overall recovery perspective.

“We are now getting feedback from rural people who are perhaps running out of medication, and from others who need other forms of welfare support.

“We will be developing a day plan over the next 24 hours around that.

“We hope to get some more reliable and robust information from the fly-over today about the full extent of rural road problem.

“We can hopefully then develop a plan around getting roads open again for access, at least for four-wheel-drive vehicles.”

  • Roads still closed this morning: Rakauroa Road (between 0 and 15km due to dropouts at Morunga Station), Tauwhareparae Road (from Paroa intersection to 20km), Pehiri Road (just before and after the 26km mark), Kiore Road (whole road), Ihungia Road, Arakihi Road (whole road), Takapau Road (whole road), West Ho Road (from start of road to 1km mark), Fernside Road (whole road), Tuakau Road, Waiau Road (4km mark), Hokoroa Road (whole road), Mata Road (lower - whole road), Mata Road (upper - whole road), Bruce Road (Kanakanaia), Totangi Road, Tiniroto Road (36km the bluffs), Motu Road (past Motu township), Waimata Valley Road (from 17km mark to the end of the road), Paroa Road, Kanakanaia Road (1km to 3km), Te Kowhai Road (bridge), Ellmers Road (Hangaroa), Bailie Road (whole road), Utting Road (whole road), Bushy Knoll Road, Waitahaia Road (10km), Tikapa Road and Swarbrick Road.

A large number of other roads remain under “caution”.

A slip developing at Kopuaroa on State Highway 35 has been dealt with by contractors.

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