The NZ Transport Agency is advising all users of the Coast Road, SH6 through Punakaiki between Westport and Greymouth, that they will need to take the Reefton route (SH 7) on Friday, 9 December.
Following the September slip at Meybille Bay(external link) which closed the highway, the Transport Agency needs to make the route safe for the summer. This will involve rock blasting, sluicing and intensive scaling of the cliff above the road.
'Vegetation has to be cleared and drilling will be needed as well as rock blasting and sluicing from helicopters. The preparatory work and vegetation clearance will start on Monday, 5 December and will involve short delays Monday to Thursday, 5-8 December.
'For the safety of drivers and other road users, it is important we have no traffic on the site for Friday, 9 December when the blasting and intensive rock scaling is happening,' says Colin Knaggs, Highway Manager for the Transport Agency. The highway will be closed from 7 am to 6 pm that day.
An electronic sign will advertise the road closure and delays at Inangahua, with road blocks at Greymouth and Westport so drivers know about the work and can choose the alternative SH7 route from the outset.
'People can still choose to drive to the Punakaiki Rocks and Café and Visitors Centre from Greymouth on 9 December but there will be no exit to Westport until after 6 pm,' says Colin Knaggs.
Additional scaling (rock removal) will run through to 15 December and road users can expect delays of up to 30 minutes at times.
The road is currently one-lane through the slip site but it will go back to two lanes when the work is completed.
Additional work to monitor the area under the slip and repair the pavement will be programmed after the New Year.