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Canterbury and West Coast highways: Access re-established Timaru to Ashburton via Arundel, Route 72 from midday

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Road crews have worked long hours overnight to make progress on reopening a road link between Timaru and Ashburton.

Timaru District, which manages Route 72, the Upper Rangitata River at the Arundel bridge, is reopening that road at midday today.

  • Speed restrictions will be in place and, due to the backlog of traffic in both directions, we expect travel times between Timaru and Christchurch to be significantly longer than normal. Travellers should add at least an extra hour to their travel times, and expect delays.
  • There are very limited services on this route via the Arundel bridge so people are asked to carry water and food.
  • There will be localised detours in place from Orari where there is a single lane bridge. Police will be present along the route.

State Highway 1 over the Rangitata River bridge will stay closed today. 

“State Highway 1 will not open today at the Rangitata bridge given the amount of water which has broken through stopbanks and needs to be redirected,” says Pete Connors, System Manager for Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.

South Westland, SH6

Top and bottom access essential services, progress this week at each end.

In South Westland, crews are beginning to tackle multiple slips on the Fox Hills, between the two glacier townships. It is hoped this area of highway will be open by the end of this week, says Mr Connors.

“The area around Whataroa at Mt Hercules is where we have the most slips, and we are aiming to have services reconnected for Christmas if not shortly after Christmas.”

  • SH6 through South Westland is closed north of Haast and south of Harihari.
  • Residents and essential services can go south of Hokitika to Harihari.
  • Harihari to Whataroa will take longer to clear.
  • The road between the two glacier towns, Fox and Franz Josef, through the Fox Hills is being targeted to open by the end of this week. There are four or five slips along this section of road.
  • People can get between Haast and Makarora in Otago daytime hours 10 am to 4 pm, essential services and residents. Work on a slip at Clarke Bluff is continuing outside these hours this week.
  • Apart from South Westland, the West Coast’s other highways through the Otira Gorge, north to Punakaiki and Buller District and south to Hokitika are open for business.

West Coast updates/map: journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/west-coast(external link)

Civil Defence West Coast: facebook.com/emergencywestcoast(external link)

Otago

Civil Defence details and information for Otago region where the rising water levels in lakes Wakatipu and Wanaka and the Clutha River are also being closely monitored and actions taken to keep people safe:

Plan ahead for a safe, enjoyable journey. Keep up to date with:

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