Roxburgh’s flooding woes may be a thing of the past.
The Pumphouse Creek culvert on State Highway 8 is to be replaced early next year to prevent flooding during intense rain events, in a project expected to cost about $575,000.
Roxburgh Area School principal Gary Pasco was among those pleased by the announcement from the NZ Transport Agency, which comes almost three years to the day since the township was inundated.
The November 2017 flood caused large slips on SH8, which blocked both sides of Roxburgh.
Residents were left with houses and gardens choked with mud, and hefty insurance bills.
Mr Pasco remembers it well.
The school suffered “significant” water damage, which left a trail of mud and silt through much of the grounds and buildings.
“It took all of the Christmas holidays for the school to get back into working order.”
Carpets had to be replaced and a range of health and safety measures had to be met before children could return in the new year.
The event is one the school will not have to repeat, all going to plan.
Mr Pasco said anything that could be done to prevent water from flooding buildings again was fantastic.
Teviot Valley Community Board chairman Ray Gunn was also pleased to hear something was being done.
“This is a significant upgrade.”
He said following the November 2017 flood, Pumphouse Creek was in a fragile state.
“This will safeguard not only the Central Otago District Council infrastructure and private property, but will provide reassurance to the community and businesses that they will not be cut off for extended periods in the future.”
NZTA had also completed design work on culverts at Black Jacks Creek and Roxburgh Golf Course and will apply for funding in the next few years.
Mr Gunn was looking forward to seeing further upgrading work eventually being carried out on the culverts at the golf course and Black Jacks Creek.
“Black Jacks Creek is not such as concern, as it is a lower priority and doesn’t affect private property.”
However, the Golf Course Creek borders private property.
“I am happy something will be done.”
At Pumphouse Creek, the 1sq m culvert will be replaced by a 4m wide x 2m high one to make it easier for flood waters and associated debris from further up the hill to be channelled into the Clutha River.
Roxburgh experienced floods in November 2017 and early in 2018.
The November event led to several creeks flooding and being blocked by debris.
The township was inundated, and houses and private property, infrastructure, including the water treatment pump station, the water supply and roading, Roxburgh Area School and Roxburgh Golf Course were damaged.
The next step is to undertake protection work around the pump station.
NZTA senior network manager John Jarvis said the new concrete culvert was being manufactured offsite in precast sections.
“While Pumphouse Creek is the first priority, [NZTA] has already made some improvements to the flow of the other two waterways and will continue to monitor and maintain these so that further road closures are minimised.”