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Poor light reduces opening hours at Diana Falls slip site

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The opening hours of State Highway 6 through the Diana Falls slip site will change this Monday (May 12) with reduced daylight hours and pre-winter conditions no longer making the existing opening hours of 8am to 6pm safe for road users and contractors.

The NZ Transport Agency’s Senior Network Manager Mark Pinner says from Monday, SH6 will open and close an hour earlier, the highway being open from Haast township to Makarora from 9am to 5pm.

Traffic will be released at the remote road blocks at Haast township and Makarora at 8.30am; the highway being closed each day at 4pm at Haast township and 4.30pm at Makarora.

“The changes in opening hours are a direct result of the onset of winter and shorter daylight hours. This is making conditions at the site unsafe for both our contractors and road users.

“Our contractors are unable to see what is happening on the slip face early morning and evening, making it is unsafe for road users to be travelling through the area,” he says.

“The topography of the site is such that even in daylight light levels are particularly gloomy at the site early morning and evening. This is also having an impact on the safety for our contractors climbing up and off the slip face each day.”

Mr Pinner says with the recent rescheduling of the work programme at the site, it is expected that once the first of the rockfall debris fences are installed on the slip face, we will assess whether the road can be re-opened quicker than originally thought to 24/7 traffic.

“We acknowledge the inconvenience of the shortened opening hours for everyone but the safety of road users and our contractors will always be our first priority as we work to re-open the road to two-lane and 24/7 traffic.”

He says work is progressing to schedule at the site, with the first of the debris fences expected to be erected from next month and all work to be completed in September.

“However, as we indicated back in February, weather will be a significant factor in achieving this date.”

For more information please contact:
Jan McCarthy
Media Manager - Christchurch
NZ Transport Agency
T: 03 964 2885 
M: 021 427 442
E: jan.mccarthy@nzta.govt.nz

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