Polishing up Porter’s and buffing up Bealey and Bruce - maintenance works begin next week on SH73


The state highway summer maintenance programme is continuing on one of the South island’s main alpine routes, with important work beginning on State Highway 73 next week.

A series of projects are being carried out on the highway between Porter’s Pass and Arthur’s Pass between 13 February and 3 March. The aim is to make sure the crucial state highway link between Canterbury and the West Coast is maintained and kept up to standard for all road users.

As part of these works, there will be a series of daytime closures on State Highway 73, with scheduled openings to let queued traffic through. Residents and regular users of State Highway 73 need to be aware of these roadworks and factor them into their travel plans, as there will be delays.

The works have been combined and carefully planned to avoid the Waitangi Day public holiday weekend and the Coast-to-Coast multisport event. This has been done to minimise disruptions for road users as much as possible. The works are scheduled to take up to 15 days to complete.

Opening and closure times have been coordinated to ensure traffic flows as smoothly as possible.

Bridge repairs and repainting – Bealey and Bruce Stream Bridges

Both of these bridges are single-lane and require road closures to allow equipment to access them and to provide a safe working space for road crews. Because the project involves painting work, this must be done during the day as temperatures at night will not allow the paint to dry.

Closure details

  • Daytime road closures will be in place Monday to Friday, beginning 13 February, for three weeks. 
  • The highway will have regular 50-minute closures operating between 7 am and 7 pm with 10-minute openings every hour on the hour to clear traffic.
  • Both bridges will be repaired at the same time and access between them will be carefully co-ordinated (and onward to Porters Pass). The closure points will be at both sides of the bridges. However, contractors will ensure the opening and closure times at both sites are coordinated.

Rock scaling work – Porter’s Pass and Waimakariri River Bluffs

Here contractors will be removing rocks and vegetation at potential risk of falling onto the road. This work helps improve road safety by reducing the possibility of rock and treefalls affecting traffic.

Because of the high-risk nature of the rock scaling activity and the requirement for good lighting, this work has to be done during the day. It means contractors have better visibility and can work in a much safer environment.

Closure details

  • Road closures will be in place Monday to Friday, from 13 February to 17 February for Porter’s Pass – and Monday, 20 February to Tuesday, 21 February for Waimakariri Bluffs
  • At Porters Pass there will be regular 20-minute closures operating between 7 am and 7 pm with 10-minute openings to clear traffic. The timings have been worked out based on the travel time to the Bealey and Bruce Stream bridge worksites so that road users face minimal delays at the next closure point.
  • At Waimakariri Bluffs there will be regular 50-minute closures operating in coordination with the bridge worksites.
  • The closure points will be at either end of the works site

Advice to road users

  • People travelling between the West Coast and Christchurch should allow an additional 20-50 minutes of travel time between Bealey Bridge and Porters Pass. Please observe posted speed limits and do not rush to the next closure point.
  • Drivers must be at the Bealey Bridge at the top of the hour, and Porters Pass on the half hour to be on time for scheduled road openings.
  • Drivers travelling between Castle Hill and Arthurs Pass need to be at the Bruce and Bealey Bridges at the top of the hour to be on time for scheduled road openings.
  • Emergency Services will have full access through the work sites if required.

Works Location Map