State highway 94 the Milford Road will close at night from tonight (15 March), until an inspection is made of a rock fall site above the western entrance of the Homer Tunnel following an earthquake 40km north of Milford Sound this morning.
The closures from 7.30pm to 7.30am are between the eastern entrance to the Homer Tunnel and Murrells Creek.
NZ Transport Agency Southland Area Manager Peter Robinson says the 4.8 magnitude quake was at our threshold where we need to do a visual inspection to confirm the safety of the rock fall site. Low cloud ruled out any inspection today and the forecast for the next two days is not that promising either.
“All we need is a small break in the weather to do the inspection with staff are on stand-by at short notice should the weather lift.”
A heightened level of monitoring is in place at the Homer Tunnel and the road will closed if there is any signs of rock fall. So far there hasn’t been since the quake struck.
Mr Robinson said the new temporary extension at the western tunnel entrance provides a level of protection that is keeping the road open, but our major concern is keeping an eye on the situation at night. This is why we opted for night-time closures until we can inspect the rock fall site. Road user safety is our top priority and that is behind our decision to close the road at night.
Currently only a small number of vehicles are using the road during this period.
For the latest information on the night time closures go to www.highwayinfo.govt.nz(external link) or phone 0800 444449.