Kawarau Gorge, SH6, overnight road closure and delays


Seasonal maintenance works will shut the Kawarau Gorge overnight, including a full closure to all traffic from this Sunday, for four consecutive nights.

Maintenance crews will be resealing, upgrading line-markings and completing other tasks, says Robert Choveaux, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Central Otago Senior Network Manager.

Due to the challenging gorge location and the nature of the works, a full closure is unavoidable.

“Everyone who drives, or who has driven through the Kawarau Gorge will understand the challenges we face.  There are particularly narrow stretches of road, significant drops to the Kawarau River and multiple winding corners to navigate.

“We want to ensure the safety of our staff and maintenance contractors doing the work – closing the road fully helps us do this.  A full closure allows us to manage quality control and focus on the task at hand.”

The full closure is between 10pm and 5am, from Sunday 21 November to Wednesday, 24 November.

However, from 8pm to 10pm, a partial closure will be in place when traffic will be escorted through the gorge by the crew on the ground from two locations at specific times only.  (Details below)

“This is when we have the least traffic on our network so it makes sense to minimise disruption for all road users as much as we can.”

Mr Choveaux recognised the works could be an inconvenience for some drivers and thanked road users for their patience ahead of the works.

google map showing sh6 kawarau gorge route

The Kawarau Gorge, linking Queenstown and Cromwell, SH6, at the bottom of the map. The Crown Range local route between Wanaka and Queenstown is the white line through Cardrona. (Source: Google maps(external link))

Motorists are advised:

  • Closed evenings, Sunday, 21 November – Wednesday, 24 November
  • Full traffic closure between 10pm and 5am (except emergency services)
  • Escorted traffic convoys at 8.30pm and 9.30pm (from Goldfield Mining Centre)
  • Escorted traffic convoys at 9:00pm and 10:00pm (from Victoria Flats)

The works will be carried out by maintenance contractors, Aspiring Highways, on behalf of Waka Kotahi.

No alternative route is available for heavy or over-dimension vehicles.  Passenger vehicles may consider using the Crown Range, however this is a lengthy detour so motorists are advised to plan ahead to avoid disappointment.

Updates on these sites will be provided via Journey Planner(external link)

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