All South Island roads closed by slips and washouts today are expected to be re-opened tomorrow.
The NZ Transport Agency Acting Southern Region Director Ian Duncan says contractors had worked tirelessly throughout the day to remove slips, temporarily repair washouts and clear away debris resulting from heavy rain during the last 48 hours.
“Contractors cleared and temporarily repaired the three washouts on State Highway 6 near Makarora by late morning and spent the remainder of the day working on two sizeable slips in the Haast Pass area.
“Good progress has been made clearing these slips - one at Pivot Creek, 10kms north of the Haast Pass summit and the other near the Gates of Haast - and work is continuing in an attempt to get the road opened later tonight.”
Mr Duncan says State Highway 94 from Lumsden to Te Anau will re-open tomorrow morning. “A detour has been in place since early this morning from Hillside Road through Manapouri after an approach to the bridge at Whitestone River was washed out.
“Temporary repairs are underway on the bridge and the road is expected to re-open.”
A slip 5kms west of Klondyke Corner closed State Highway 73 from Cass to Arthur’s Pass for much of the day. About 500 cubic metres of debris came down onto the road and contractors were on-site from late morning clearing the road.
Mr Duncan says one lane has been cleared and since 3pm the road had been open on the hour for 15 minutes each way, then closed again for work to continue. These hourly openings will continue until 6pm when a decision will be made on whether to leave one lane open overnight.
“It is still raining in the area and there is a risk of further debris slipping onto the road, motorist safety will be our priority in deciding whether to keep one-lane open overnight.”
SH 94 Milford Road, from Hollyford to Milford Sound, was re-opened at 3pm but only for bus convoys carrying cruise ship passengers back to Milford Sound and bringing out walkers from the Milford Track. The road remains closed for all other traffic until 7.30am tomorrow morning.
Mr Duncan says work is continuing on the Milford Road, which remains one lane in places. “All this work is expected to be completed tonight for the road to re-open in the morning.”
He advises motorists check the NZTA website – www.nzta.govt.nz(external link) – before travelling. “With more rain forecast for tomorrow afternoon, motorists are warned there could be further disruptions to the network.”