Bucketing rain causes slips, high river levels, closures on highways West Coast, Marlborough and Buller/ Tasman


Torrential rain on the West Coast, Buller, Tasman and Marlborough today has caused extensive surface flooding, slips and highway closures.

“Rain is forecast to continue overnight so we encourage people to avoid driving in these conditions,” says Tresca Forrester, Journey Manager Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency. “We recommend people avoid travelling overnight given visibility issues and the potential to get caught between slips or areas of surface flooding.” 

Alpine highways – take the Lewis

The Arthur’s Pass route between the West Coast and Canterbury, SH73, is unlikely to open today given the ongoing rainfall and active slips. People will need to take the Lewis Pass instead. 

Rocky Creek slip between Otira and Jacksons, SH73, the West Coast this afternoon. Due to the continual rain, the slope remains unstable:

SH73 Arthur’s Pass route linking the West Coast and Canterbury - closed

SH73 has two slips: the first is at Rocky Point between Jacksons and Kumara and occurred earlier today. There is also substantial flooding between Jacksons and Kumara Junction.

https://www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/roadclosures/348823(external link)
https://www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/roadclosures/348857(external link)

However, a new slip after this afternoon is between Otira and Jacksons which cuts off access to the detour linking Jacksons and Greymouth via Moana.  This slip remains unstable in the constant rain. Traffic is currently being stopped at Arthur’s Pass on the Canterbury side of the alps.

Alternative route linking the West Coast and Canterbury:

The Lewis Pass, SH7, is still open linking the West Coast and Canterbury. 

SH6 Westland

All of SH6 south of Hokitika to Haast has surface flooding in places. https://www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/areawarnings/348799(external link) 

Westport/ the Buller River Bridge

The Buller River Bridge on SH67 is open with high tide at 3 pm today and 3 am tomorrow. People should expect surface flooding in many places. 

SH6 is closed at Inangahua due to high river levels, but there is an alternate route via Browns Creek Road.  https://www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/roadclosures/348835(external link)

For updates on the state of emergency in Buller: https://www.facebook.com/BullerCD/(external link)


All highways in Tasman District remain open as at 3.30 pm today, however further heavy rain is forecast. There is surface flooding at Longford, north of Murchison. https://www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/roadhazards/348786(external link)

Marlborough – more rain is on the way

Very heavy rain and strong winds are expected over the next 24 hours in Marlborough, resulting in high river levels in the Wairau and Pelorus Rivers and their tributaries. People should be aware that SH63, SH6 and key local roads off these highways may flood and become impassable.

Check highways are open, warnings/advice here: https://www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic(external link)


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