West Coast/Canterbury SH73 Porters Pass route delays for next ten weeks


Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency will be repairing a retaining wall at Porters Pass west of Springfield on SH73 over the next ten weeks, into early July.

Although the wall urgently needs to be repaired, Covid supply chain delays meant the steel needed has only recently been delivered.

“The retaining wall work starts on Monday, 9 May,” says Tresca Forrester, Journey Manager for Waka Kotahi. “While crews will be working daytime hours, road users will be affected 24/7 by the single lane past the site, nights and days, into July.”

Traffic signals combined with a 30km/h speed restriction will allow single lane traffic to pass the site safely over a 1.2 km stretch for the duration of the work.

“On weekends, manual traffic management (Stop/Go) may be used at peak times, for example, to ensure people can get to skifields in the mornings and away in the afternoons without undue delay,” says Ms Forrester. During weekdays, people need to factor in an extra ten minutes.

“We have talked to the skifield operators on SH73 and are in close communication with them if they open in June or early July. In the event of snow falling on the highway, crews will disestablish for the day and if possible, open the route to two lanes.

Stick to the signals

The stretch of highway where the work site is set up climbs over a hill with no visibility from one end to the other. “So it is important that people obey the signals, night and day. It will in general add up to ten minutes to their trips,” says Ms Forrester.

  • The length of highway included in the single lane work site, at more than a kilometre, avoids truck drivers having to stop on an uphill section of the road.
  • The traffic signals will also be timed to give uphill traffic more time to get through.

“Ideally this work would have been done over summer, but the materials are only available now.  We will do our best to ensure delays are avoided and ask all road users to play their part by obeying the traffic signals and our traffic managers using Stop/Go at all times.”