Storm Update - Advice for Commuters

21 June 2013

Commuters in the Wellington region should expect significant delays this morning as roads remain marginal after the heavy southerly storm that lashed the Wellington area overnight.

The Wellington Region Civil Defence Controller, Bruce Pepperell, says all highways in the area are now open – but conditions are still marginal and extreme care will be needed by motorists.

Rail passenger services, however, are likely to be severely disrupted. The rail line between Petone and Wellington is closed - so services between the Hutt Valley and Wellington have been canvelled until further notice.

The rail line between Waikanae and Paekakariki is closed – and signal problems are likely to cause delays between Porirua and Wellington.

Mr Pepperell says the rail disruptions are likely to increase road traffic – and delays. "My advice is to listen to the radio for an update before heading off this morning."

A number of roads are still closed by slips, fallen trees and other debris.

Roads closed:

  • Marine Drive between Eastbourne and Lower Hutt
  • the Paekakariki Hill Road
  • both roads to Makara Village and Makara Beach
  • Middleton Road, between Johnsonville and Churton Park.

"The other main advice is that everyone should take extreme care in the morning - there is likely to be a lot of damage and a lot of debris on roads and on private property that we haven't seen overnight - people should drive slowly and keep a watch out."

While wind speeds have dropped in the past few hours, the wind still presents a significant hazard, Mr Pepperell says.

Civil defence staff and emergency-services representatives will meet for a briefing update shortly after 7am. The situation regarding transport and other infrastructure "should be much clearer by 8am", says Mr Pepperell.

He says there are many power lines down around the area. "If you see any power lines down - do not go near them - treat them as live."

There are still multiple power outages around the region – including Lower Hutt, Wainuiomata, Miramar, Johnsonville, Makara, Porirua, Titahi Bay and Whitby – about 30,000 customers were intermittently without power overnight.

Swells of up to 10 metres have been reported in Cook Strait – and significant amounts of debris have been thrown on to roads on Wellington’s south coast.