State Highway 60, the Takaka Hill road, damaged in the aftermath of ex-cyclone Gita, continues to be opened twice each day – 7-8 am and 5-6 pm, says the NZ Transport Agency.
These two times for escorted convoys, Monday to Friday, will now be expanded to include Saturdays.
“Crews are making good progress removing landslide material but there is substantial work to do at a number of sites which will ensure this road has restricted access for some weeks to come,” says Frank Porter, Transport Agency System Manager.
Sunday all day travel 8 am to 5 pm
From this Sunday, 4 March, the highway will be open for convoys all day, 8 am to 5 pm. This Sunday open system will continue in coming weeks, weather dependent. “This means that road crews can work on the repairs for six days out of seven and speed up the rebuild completion,” says Mr Porter. “We know how important this single highway is for people and businesses in Golden Bay and Takaka.”
People need to be at the waiting areas at 7 am and 5 pm Monday to Saturday inclusive to be sure of getting over the hill.
Caravans and boats - end of each day only
Drivers of light vehicles (cars, vans) towing boats and caravans will be able to get over the hill at the end of each day – all seven days of the week. No registration is required.
New waiting place on Takaka side of hill
The new waiting place on the Takaka side of the hill is at Ravensdown Ngarua Lime nearer the top of the hill, rather than Upper Takaka on the lower slopes. This means that people wanting to go camping at Canaan Downs, on top of the hill, are not held up by having their turnoff inside the convoy area.
Rigid trucks, no trucks with trailers attached
Other restrictions remain in place on Takaka Hill for rigid trucks only, with no trailers or over-dimension vehicles allowed on Takaka Hill currently.
“Weather is a key factor in crews being able to work and provide access over the hill,” says Mr Porter. “If conditions deteriorate the road will have to be closed. Given this week’s weather forecast we recommend people check NZTA South Island Facebook(external link) and Top of the South Twitter(external link) updates, before they travel.
Key freight trips outside of publicly open times
Some key freight trips, like milk tanker deliveries, which cross the hill at 7 am and normally come back at midday, will be allowed over the hill at pre-arranged times under a permit system. This freight-only system is being arranged through Tasman Journeys.
If people see freight on the highway outside of the morning and evening slots, it will be through this permit system and is restricted to these essential services, Mr Porter says.
How to stay up to date:
The key traffic and travel source which provides up-to-date information on weather and road conditions is www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic(external link)