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News in brief, May 19, 2023

Traffic warning

With the week-long closure of Hughes Line beginning today, Waka Kotahi NZTA is warning motorists to prepare for increased traffic and longer travel times between Masterton and Carterton on State Highway 2 [SH2]. The transport agency said local drivers had been using Hughes Line to avoid the roadworks on SH2 between the towns, but with the district council closing the road for urgent repairs more vehicles will be using the highway. “Drivers should factor this into their travel plans, especially during peak morning and afternoon traffic.” Waka Kotahi said it understood the delays caused by roadworks were frustrating. It said the three roundabouts currently under construction were expected to be completed by August with final resurfacing done in December.

Storm brewing

With a forecast storm due to sweep New Zealand today, Metservice is warning thunderstorms are a possibility, in addition to the risk of heavy rain. Metservice said it is forecasting a stormy end to the week due to a deep low and an associated front coming through from the Tasman Sea. New Zealand then has a slight reprieve before the low moves across the central North Island with pace, bringing strong winds and showers on the weekend, the forecaster said. “The front that moves across the North Island from Thursday afternoon isn’t expected to stall, unlike recent heavy rainfall events, and will move quickly southeastwards to lie to the east of the country by Friday afternoon. However, surface flooding and slips are still possible even during this shorter rainfall event, as some areas may receive heavy rain due to the tropical moisture and thunderstorms involved.”

Grass burnouts

Hoons doing burnouts have vandalised the grass between Lincoln Rd and Masterton Train Station. Police received no reports of the incident, but large circular tyre ruts appeared in the grass some time late last week. Metlink leases the land off KiwiRail, so it will be responsible for resowing the grass and restoring the berm. General manager Samantha Gain said she was disappointed by the behaviour. “It requires us to divert resources and finances that could be used elsewhere to fix a deliberate act of vandalism,” she said. Metlink said it might look at preventing future vandalism by installing bollards to keep vehicles off the grass.

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