Rising flood waters are beginning to lap over the road in the Karangahake Gorge.

A passing motorist said the river was higher than he had ever seen and that police were at the end of State Highway 2 ready to close the road to traffic.

A police media spokeswoman said a police unit is at the gorge directing traffic but she did not believe the road was closed at this stage.

A New Zealand Transport Agency spokesman said the highway would not be closing at this stage.

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"There is surface flooding but contractors are on site and there will be restrictions in place (stop/go controls) to keep people safe."