Lewis Pass alpine route - care needed on State Highway 65, Shenandoah highway between Murchison and Maruia


The NZ Transport Agency is advising drivers who use State Highway 65 north of Springs Junction, part of the South Island’s Lewis Pass route, to be ready for short delays in an area of significant river erosion.

The Maruia River has eroded the cliff face under the highway during the heavy rain at the end of May, undermining the guardrail and posts,” says Andrew James, System Manager for the Transport Agency Top of the South.

“We have placed barriers along the river side and installed traffic signals to manage single lane traffic, while we consider repair strategies.”

The Maruia River is a major tributary of the Buller River which was in full flood at the end of May, closing the Upper Buller Gorge highway into Westport overnight.

“Winter conditions mean that a permanent remedy for this part of the highway will be many months away, so drivers should be aware the traffic signals and the reduced speed will remain in place for several months,” says Mr James.

Please bear in mind: In the event of further high river levels in the Maruia River this winter, a detour will redirect drivers over the Rahu Saddle/ Reefton and Inangahua, adding an hour or so to the overall journey Nelson to Christchurch.

Image of broken guardrail

Early June – guardrail no longer holding, highway lane has barriers to keep drivers safely away from the edge

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

  • Phone: 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49)