- 03 June 2021
Service Announcement | South Island Flooding June 2021
UPDATE: Thursday 3 June 2021
The Ashburton Bridge on State Highway 1 is now open to heavy vehicles, however restrictions will allow heavy vehicles to cross between 7am and 7pm only. Outside of these hours, the alternate route via an inland crossing will be in place.
The bridge will be open 24/7 to all other light traffic.
Should any issues arise, the bridge will close to all users at short notice.
Rail links between Ashburton and Timaru remain closed as KiwiRail assesses and begins repairs to bridges and washouts on this route. At this stage, the line will be closed for at least the next week.
With this critical link closed, pressure will remain on the roading network for freight movements south of Christchurch.
Our teams are working extended hours to facilitate the movement of freight in the most efficient and timely manner.
We do respectfully ask customers, whilst access to State Highway 1 has improved at this point, to advise receivers to expect delays while key infrastructure is brought back online over the coming weeks.
UPDATE: Wednesday 2 June 2021
BackgroundThe Ashburton Bridge on State Highway 1 remains closed to heavy vehicles today after engineering tests last night deemed it safe for light vehicles only. Further testing today will determine structural integrity for heavier vehicles.
An alternative route was opened last night routing heavy vehicles via an inland crossing, avoiding the option of a challenging 13-hour transit down the West Coast.
Weight and speed restrictions are in place awaiting final clearances on inland bridges and surrounding roading infrastructure.
Rail links north of Christchurch to Blenheim reopened yesterday, with links south of Christchurch remaining closed due to a number of bridges that have been categorised as compromised. Further assessments are underway as river levels subside.
Traditional rail freight volume will put pressure on the roading network south of Christchurch as our teams continue to work diligently to navigate reported obstacles.
Customer UpdateMainfreight Group vehicles were able to travel southbound last night, with some delays which are expected to affect delivery destinations today. Our teams are working extended hours to clear the backlog until regular daily services are reinstated.
We welcome customers to resume despatching into and out of the Lower South Island today.
We do respectfully ask customers to advise receivers to expect continuing time delays while road and rail infrastructure is brought back on line over the coming weeks.
UPDATE: Tuesday 1 June 2021
The extensive flooding has triggered hundreds of evacuations and closed roads and bridges throughout the region. Access from Christchurch to the lower South Island has been impeded, with closures affecting State Highway 1, rail links and alternative rural roads. In addition, rail services between Blenheim and Christchurch are closed, with the Ashley River north of Christchurch flowing at record levels.
Heavy rain is forecast to continue this morning, with Rail and Road access remaining closed. Until such time as water levels subside and debris is able to be cleared, representatives across the region cannot fully inspect infrastructure.
We understand an inspection of the bridge crossing State Highway 1 in Ashburton reports signs of subsidence which could result in extended delays before reopening.
KiwiRail continues to monitor lines, with further updates expected as access allows.
Customer UpdateSeveral of our usual delivery routes are currently closed. Our teams continue to explore alternatives to re-establish services, including inland river crossings, rail and/or coastal services should State Highway 1 remain closed for an extended period. We will provide further updates as more information comes available.
For our affected customers, we strongly recommend holding shipments into/out of the Lower South Island today to avoid unnecessary network congestion.
Please also advise receivers that freight already in the network could be delayed. Your local branch representatives are available to provide details of shipment status.
Our teams appreciate your support as we collectively find a way to navigate this event.