Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is aiming to reopen State Highway 6 between Harihari and Whataroa this Friday at 9am, 20 December.
This section of highway is the last part of the Haast highway south of Hokitika to reopen after the 7 December storm which closed the road.
“This goal of Friday 9 am is still weather dependent, but it reflects the long hours and hard work of multiple crews and subcontractors working on this route since it closed on 7 December,” says Transport Agency Senior Network Manager Colin Hey.
Once open, the SH6 route will have traffic lights and single lanes through several areas including Mt Hercules, between Harihari and Whataroa, and further south in the Fox Hills, between the two glacier towns.
At this stage it is expected that the Mt Hercules section will be open daily from 7am to 9pm, but may close during the day if rain increases the risk of further slips. This will be monitored daily by road crews.
“Crews have this past weekend (14, 15 December) reconnected the road through Mt Hercules with access for construction traffic,” says Mr Hey. “But there is considerable work still to be done to make the road safe to open to the public.
“This week crews will continue to widen the road formation where it has “dropped out”, or been washed away by the overflowing creeks, stabilising and strengthening road edges and slopes, removing any overhanging vegetation and completing the bridge approaches at places like Little Man Creek.
“In the Mt Hercules section alone, the Transport Agency has 40 excavators, dump trucks, and road trucks working as well as crews putting in place traffic control, including traffic lights, for when the highway reopens.”
The road is not yet safely trafficable/ driveable for the public, he says.
Transport Agency crews will close the highway south of Haast, between Haast and Makarora from Wednesday midday to Thursday 1pm, allowing them 25 hours for remediation work at Clarke Bluff, on the approach to the Haast Pass.
“Crews will be patrolling State Highway 6 every day over the Christmas period and we will be back into construction work in the New Year to continue work to permanently reinstate the road in key areas,” Mr Hey says.
Please see video footage and photos of the work underway on SH6 on this project page: www.nzta.govt.nz/sh6-south-westland-repairs
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