The NZ Transport Agency says it will be midday tomorrow at the earliest before a large rock fall on State highway 6 south of Makarora is cleared and the highway opened again.
Further west on the highway at the Diana Falls slip site near Haast Pass, the road there also remains closed until at least tomorrow morning.
Transport Agency Senior Network Manager John Jarvis says the 2,000 cubic metre rock fall that came down at 6am this morning is about 15km south of Makarora, is roughly 50 metres long and 4-6 metres deep. We currently have a helicopter using a monsoon bucket to sluice away any remaining loose rock from the top of the rock fall site.
This rock fall is larger than one two years ago about 100 metres further north. The speed of the clearing work will depend on the size of some rocks with indications that there are some very large slabs of rock buried in the debris.
We understand our customers will be inconvenienced by this situation and are making every effort to get at least one lane of the highway open as soon as it is safe to do so.
Mr Jarvis says there is enough equipment and personal on site to begin removing debris as soon as we get the all clear that it’s safe to do so. Recent heavy rain is believed to have caused the rock fall.
There will be a further update on this highway closure at midday tomorrow.
For the latest on road conditions including this rock fall freephone 0800 4 HIGHWAYS or go to www.highwayinfo.govt.nz(external link)
For more information please contact:
Regional Communications Advisor
T DDI 03 951 3005
M 021 954 928