17 Aug 2011

Towns isolated by road closures

6:07 pm on 17 August 2011

Road closures because of the polar blast left a number of rural areas cut off.

Wairarapa towns were affected by the closure of the Rimutaka Hill road (State Highway 2Two) closure; Central Otago was affected by the closure of some parts of State Highway 85 and Raetihi in the central North Island was also isolated by state highway closures.

Carterton District Mayor Ron Mark says Wairarapa adapted to the situation.

He told Morning Report that many people who commute to Wellington were working from home, while food supplies were being trucked in via a four-hour detour through Palmerston North.

Alexandra Mayor Tony Lepper says some areas of Central Otago still required snow chains, while others had not yet had a grader through to clear the bulk of the snow.

Mr Lepper says many people in the area are feeling very isolated.

Ruapehu District Council member Don Cameron, who lives in Ohakune, was in Raetihi on Tuesday. He says the snow there was the thickest anyone can remember, but the town was coping well.

Mr Cameron says the Four Square store there was baking bread to replenish supplies and milk was able to be delivered on Tuesday.

At minus 12 degrees, Raetihi was the coldest place in New Zealand on Tuesday.

But given its proximity to Mt Ruapehu, Mr Cameron says Raetihi is used to cold conditions.