SH6 South Westland update on anticipated full opening of route


Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has confirmed that it is aiming to fully reopen State Highway 6 south of Hokitika to Makarora in Otago in time for Christmas.

This includes the only section currently still closed, with the most slips and damage, Mt Hercules south of Harihari to Whataroa.

“Whilst this work is weather dependent, we have multiple crews and machinery working in this section of Mt Hercules currently and have made good progress at a number of sites including the Little Man Creek bridge washout,” says Colin Hey, Senior Network Manager, Transport Agency.

View of bridge from below with cascading river underneath and two orange diggers sitting on the river bank.

Good progress at Little Man Creek bridge where the approach was washed out, Mt Hercules, in the last day or so – 11 December 2019.

“There is rain forecast for the coming days but at this stage, it should not affect progress significantly.”

The Transport Agency asks everyone to take care around our hard-working crew members and their machines.  Some sections will be single lane with Stop/Go traffic management even once the road is fully open.

Journey times, add an hour

Currently the journey into the glacier townships from the Otago side may take an extra hour with two active work sites and single lane traffic in the Fox Hills between Fox and Franz Josef, and a single lane over the Haast Pass at Clarke Bluff rockfall site.

One day closure of highway next week south of Haast, Wednesday midday to Thursday midday at Haast

There is significant repair and remediation needed south of Haast at Clarke Bluff towards the Haast Pass where rockfall has kept the highway to single lane this week.

This will require a full 24-hour traffic closure as explosives will be used, says Mr Hey.

SH6 will be closed south of Haast from Wednesday, 18 December, at midday (Makarora closing 1 pm) to Thursday, 19 December the same times – midday Haast and 1 pm Makarora.

The work has to be done in hours of daylight, hence the timing over two days, to accommodate some traffic each day but get the job done safely.

Route south of Whataroa open 24/7 now with caveat on rainfall

SH6 Franz Josef to Fox Glacier – The road is now open 24 hours a day. The one possible restriction for safety for road users is that if 75 mm of rain falls within a 24-hour period, the road will close overnight 8pm to 8am.

Dirt covering repair ford bridge over Thirsty Creek with a yellow digger and earth moving truck in the background.

Thirsty Creek south of Fox Glacier township – 11 December 2019.


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