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Published: 2004-03-02 00:00:00

State Highway 1 may not have to close later today as the Waikato River nears its peak flow.

Environment Waikato says a lower than expected flow through the Waipa River – which joins the Waikato at Ngaruawahia – has meant the flow down to the lower Waikato over the next day or two is likely to be less than feared.

Electricity generator Mighty River Power managed flows out of Lake Karapiro overnight to lessen the effects downstream, and the spillway at Rangiriri designed to flow water across the highway when the river reaches 8.8 metres may not need to operate.

The spillway was predicted to start operating later today, with the peak of the Waikato River due to flow through the area at more than 9 metres in the early hours of tomorrow morning. If water levels rose significantly the highway would have to close and traffic would need to use a diversion.

Environment Waikato flood response staff are hopeful that the peak may pass without any problems.