State Highway status update – Top of the South


The closure of State Highway 6 through Rocks Road in Nelson is now set to remain in place until Tuesday.

Mark Owen, Acting National Manager Maintenance and Operations, says assessments of the cliff face and the areas above it mean it is not safe to reopen to traffic, cyclists, or pedestrians.

“We will update the road’s status on Tuesday, 23 August, at the same time as we provide updated information on the closures of State Highway 6, Nelson to Blenheim, and State Highway 63, Renwick to Saint Arnaud.”

“We appreciate these closures are frustrating for road users and residents, but the nature and extent of the damage mean safety has to come first. These roads are currently not safe and therefore not open to public access.”

Mr Owen says progress has been made on State Highway 6, Atawhai Drive, north of Nelson.

“Road crews have managed to reopen this stretch of road to two lanes to Hira, restoring access for residents. This has involved a lot of work done under challenging conditions.

Meanwhile, State Highway 6 between Renwick and Havelock is restricted to emergency access only.

“There is extensive flood damage to this area. We ask that people respect the road closure as contractors and emergency services are the priority here”, Mr Owen says.

In Tākaka, State Highway 60 between Tākaka and Onekaka is open to light vehicles only. Work is underway to assess future heavy vehicle access, but due to vulnerability, geotechnical advice is this route is not suitable for larger vehicles.

State Highway closures

 SH6 Nelson to Blenheim – Hira to Rai Valley. Closed due to flood damage and washouts. 

  • SH6 Rocks Road - Nelson Central from Haven Road to the Tahunanui intersection. Closed because of slip risk  
    • The detour route is via Haven Rd, Halifax St, Rutherford St and Waimea Rd.  This route is available for Heavy Commercial Vehicles (HCV). There are no alternative routes through the city due to height and weight restrictions. All vehicles must comply with speed restrictions. 
  • SH63 Renwick to Saint Arnaud. Closed because of flood damage and washouts.

The only alternative route into Nelson from Blenheim, the West Coast and Canterbury is via the Lewis Pass, State Highway 7, and Murchison, State Highways 65 and 6. 

As roads reopen, Mark Owen says drivers need to be aware it’s not business as usual.

“State Highways across the upper South Island have suffered extensive damage from the wet weather. It’s essential drivers slow down and drive to the conditions. We also ask they obey speed limits at road work sites and follow the instructions of road crews.”

Drivers are strongly advised to avoid travel or keep to essential trips only in areas still affected by flood waters, slips, and debris.