South Canterbury inland route to Fairlie, SH79, 30-minute delays for four weeks from Monday


Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is starting four weeks of work this Monday 8 March rebuilding a one kilometre section of highway and doing drainage work through the Kakahu area of South Canterbury, SH79.

The work area is from the Kakahu rest area to Mulvihill Rd, on the Geraldine-Fairlie highway. 

“As this is a narrow section of highway, to do this work safely and protect our work crews and road users from machinery in a tight space,  we will use manual  traffic management and allow road users through on the hour and half hour,” says Waka Kotahi Maintenance Contract Manager for South Canterbury John Keenan.

  • The road will open on the hour and half hour from 7am to 7pm Monday to Saturdays to let traffic through.
  • People can expect up to 30 minute delays at each end if they arrive after an opening.
  • At nights (7pm to 7am), on Sundays and over the Easter Holiday (2 April Good Friday to Easter Monday 5 April) the road will be open under a temporary speed restriction until it is fully marked up as two lanes.

Around 2,500 vehicles use this road each day, says Mr Keenan. “It can be a busy route when there are weekend events on in the Mackenzie District, Central Otago, and at Easter, so we want people to be aware of the delays before they set off and build in the extra time to their journey.”

Paul Smith Earthmoving is the subcontractor for this project for Waka Kotahi and the South Canterbury highway maintenance contractor Downer.

Electronic message boards have been placed on the highway this week to advise regular users of the delays from next week and over the four weeks.

  • There are no suitable short detour routes around this work site however road users can use the alternative Washdyke to Fairlie route (SH8, to the south) to bypass SH79.
  • Updates on the SH79 project(external link)
  • For further information: Downer 03 687 2751 or Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency 0800 44 44 49 (0800 4 Highways).

 Aerial view map showing the location of the road works

Map showing location of road works and alternative route.

Orange spot and line marks the Kakahu area of SH79. The alternative route to Fairlie on SH8 is to the south from Washdyke north of Timaru.

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