LATEST: Wednesday 7am update: State Highway 43 and State Highway 4 are still closed. State Highway 3 is closed south of Whanganui at the Whangaehu Bridge. Caution is still advised on SH3 throught the Uruti Valley.
Travelling north from Taranaki became almost impossible yesterday as slips and flooding shut state highways and other roads.
Motorists going north were turned back at Urenui and faced a long journey south to Marton before they could begin heading in the right direction.
A slip on the northern side of Mt Messenger and flooding at the tunnel closed State Highway 3 to all traffic at 8.48am.
An hour earlier the NZ Transport Agency had said SH3 was closed to motorists other than heavy vehicles and advised caution because of heavy flooding in the Uruti Valley.
The highway reopened at 4.30pm but motorists were warned to take care on the slippery road and to watch out for debris.
The students who managed to make it to Uruti School in the morning were later sent home when safety concerns began to rise along with the water.
Office secretary Angie Brightman said water had covered the school's sports fields and washed the bark out of their playground.
"It was quite scary really, I've never seen rain like that."
She said students were dropped off or picked up by parents before the main roads closed.
"We were getting worried we might not be able to get out."
Further south, State Highway 43 between Stratford and Taumarunui was closed due to a slip in the Tangarakau Gorge, and State Highway 4 which heads north from Whanganui was also shut.
Both highways remained closed overnight and will be reassessed this morning.
The New Plymouth District Council said a number of New Plymouth roads were also flooded or had slips including Mimi Rd, Okoki Rd, Piko Rd, Kiwi Rd, Rerekino Rd, Uruti Rd, Okau Rd, Moki Rd, Waitaanga Rd and Hutawai Rd.
In South Taranaki slips were also reported on Mangwhio Rd, Tangahoe Valley Rd and Glen Nui Rd, however contractors hoped to have them cleared by the end of the day.
The stormy weather also cut power to 20,000 properties in Patea, Opunake, Te Kiri, Opaku and Whenuakura, Wairarapa, Manawatu and Whanganui overnight on Monday.
A team of 150 staff had restored power to all but 3000 properties by 3pm yesterday.
Powerco Network operations manager Phil Marsh said new faults were being found as repairs were being made and trees had caused the majority of the cuts to supply.
It was expected the majority of South Taranaki properties would be reconnected by last night.
The Waitotara Valley Rd has slips and flooding in several locations which has caused the road to be closed until further notice.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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