Slip could take several days to clear

02:44, Jun 13 2014
Deisha Graham
STORM DAMAGE: A slip has blocked Port Underwood Rd near Whatamango Bay. HEB Construction’s Bruce Orchard assesses the damage.

Marlborough contractors were able to better assess damage in the region as the rain cleared yesterday.

Nearly 20 roads remained impassable last night, including Port Underwood Rd, which was blocked by a major slip.

Marlborough Roads highway manager Frank Porter said specialist geotechnical engineers would be arriving from Wellington today to inspect the site, at Whatamango Bay.

"Several thousand cubic metres of unstable hillside around the path of the slip mean it is too dangerous for road crews to begin work," he said last night.

Smaller slips in the same area would be cleared, but it was expected it would take several days to clear debris from the large slip, Porter said.

Port Underwood Rd residents beyond Whatamango Bay could only exit the area through Rarangi, an extra hour-and-a-half driving time, he said.


The road was open on either side, but the use of four-wheel-drive vehicles was recommended.

Flooding had also washed out a timber bridge on Speeds Rd, between Blenheim and Picton.

Emergency access to the road had been set up for residents, but the road would remain closed until a temporary bridge was put in place, Porter said.

They hoped to have the bridge in place early next week, he said.

Marlborough District Council reserves and amenities manager Rosie Bartlett said all Marlborough sports grounds and mountain bike tracks remained closed yesterday.

Decisions were to be made today whether they would reopen for Saturday sport, she said.

Updates could be found at

Marlborough roads still closed as at 8am this morning:

Ward Beach Road

Reserve Road

Taylor Pass Road at the Fords

Beaver Road Footbridge

Elizabeth Street Footbridge

Hodder Ford - Awatere Valley Road

Omaka Ford, Old Renwick Road

Old Renwick Road at Fairhall Diversion

Jacksons Road

Hammerichs Road

Para Road

Speeds Road - bridge damage

Fairhall Cycleway,

SH6 Woodbourne

Foster Street, Seddon

Morgans Road

Vickerman Street

Port Underwood Road - Whatamango Hill

An update was expected about 12pm.

The Marlborough Express