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Warning to avoid travel as strong winds lash BOP

A strong wind watch is in force until tomorrow morning.

Motorists are being advised to avoid any unnecessary travel as strong winds lash the Bay of Plenty.

High winds have brought down trees and powerlines across both the Waikato and Bay of Plenty.

Waka Kotahi regional maintenance and operations manager Rob Campbell says the MetService has issued a Strong Wind Watch for parts of the Bay of Plenty and Waikato through until tomorrow (Thursday) morning.

“Avoid unnecessary travel and, if you must travel, expect the unexpected and remain alert.

“Drive to the conditions and watch out for fallen trees, branches and downed powerlines. Check your intended route for hazards or disruptions before setting out, using the Waka Kotahi interactive Journey Planner website (journeys.nzta.govt.nz), and remain alert for unreported hazards.”

High sided vehicles and motorcycles should take particular care in strong winds.

In the Waikato, multiple trees have come down on State Highway 1 at Karapiro, between Keeley’s Reserve and Maungatautari Road, on both sides of the highway. The southbound lane is closed and northbound traffic is down to one lane under Stop/Go traffic management.

Trees are continuing to fall, both onto the highway and within the reserve. Traffic management and maintenance crews are on-site and trees are being removed as quickly as it is possible to do so safely. An arborist is en-route to provide further advice.

Further south, there is also a Strong Wind Watch in place for the Desert Road, and motorists are encouraged to take care, particularly in open, exposed areas.

In the Bay of Plenty, high winds have seen trees and powerlines down and road closures or delays on State Highway 29 over the Kaimai Range, on State Highway 30 at Tikitere and on State Highway 35 near Te Kaha and at Torere Beach this morning, with all since reopened.

Campbell asks motorists to be mindful of contractors who could be out clearing hazards off the road, and drive slowly through work sites. Treat all powerlines as live.

“We want to see everyone get home safely. Stay safe and stay alert.”

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