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The majority of the damage caused by the recent heavy rain has been along the path of the Omaka River which chewed into its banks all the way from Tyntesfield bridge down past Renwick, taking out fences, lifting road seal, flooding at least two vineyards and putting a hole in the stopbank.
Marlborough District Council rivers and works staff have heavy machinery out this week beginning the repairs but Rivers manager Geoff Dick says it’s likely to be up to six months before the tidy-up is complete.
“We’re underway with the channel clearing now, pulling out the tree trunks and other debris, and in places realigning the river back to its channel. Then we need to work with landowners on the permanent repair work; shoring up the river banks and replanting, as well as dealing with the Omaka stopbank damage on the south side of SH6.”
Mr Dick says the problem was not so much the intensity of the rainfall but that it was prolonged, so the river ran high for three days, putting the system under pressure.
“The river did come out of its channel but the fords all flowed well and even though the river knocked a hole in the stopbank, it was on the receding end of the event and no water breached the stopbank.”
The Taylor River floodway coped with its floodwaters although Mr Dick said some running repairs had to be made to a couple of Blenheim’s older storm water pump stations which are due for replacement.
Both rivers are now flowing inside their banks again after sweeping across paddocks and roads. Three roads remain closed today; one each near the townships of Renwick, Seddon and Ward. Taylor Pass Road, between Maxwell Pass Road and Awatere Valley Road, is open to 4WD vehicles only. Several slips have been cleared to allow access on the Awatere Valley Road, and the road is passable with care. Cameron’s Road off SH6 near Okaramio is still open to 4WD only.
Marlborough Roads’ staff are moving around the region today and tomorrow, assessing the extent of the damage to culverts, road shoulders and surface seal.
“We’ll make the necessary quick fixes in the next few days but, with the ground absolutely saturated, we’re waiting for this week’s forecast rain before we sort out the longer term repair programme that is going to be necessary,” said Marlborough Roads senior asset manager Wayne Oldfield.