Waimakariri Bluffs (SH73) morning delays this Thursday and Friday


Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency advises all people who travel between the West Coast and Canterbury via SH73, (the Arthur’s Pass route), to be prepared for delays this Thursday 28 and Friday 29 May.

The final phase of a major rock removal and anchoring safety project is coming to an end with a number of lifts of material via helicopter at Waimakariri Bluffs, east of Arthur’s Pass. (See map below)
State Highway 73 will need to be completely closed at the Bluffs while the helicopter is lifting materials over the highway between 7.30am and 11am each day.

The longest drivers will be held up is around 30 minutes and crews will do their best to avoid any build-up of traffic, says Colin MacKay, Waka Kotahi Portfolio Manager. “They may be able to do most of this work between 9 and 10am, however, it is weather and in particular wind-dependent, so they need some flexibility.”

This project began last September and has involved scaling or removing loose rock from close to a kilometre of rocky bluffs adjoining the highway and the Waimakariri River, blasting some rocks, securing rock anchors and attaching safety netting over rocky faces.

Abseilers attaching rock safety netting above SH73 east of Arthur’s Pass

Waimakariri Bluffs rockfall risk reduction information(external link)

Electronic message boards will advise drivers of the delays at Springfield, Yaldhurst, Kumara Junction, Arthur’s Pass and Otira this week. 

Waka Kotahi thanks all drivers who will be inconvenienced by these delays, says Mr MacKay. “It will be good to have this highway back to two lanes with no traffic lights controlling movements in coming weeks and a firmer and better protected rock face above the highway to keep road users safe.”

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