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Work underway to re-open South Island roads

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Work is underway to clear and temporarily repair roads in the South Island which were closed overnight by slips and washouts.

NZ Transport Agency Acting Southern Region Director Ian Duncan says contractors were on-site early this morning and have cleared and temporarily repaired the three washouts on State Highway 6 near Makarora.

“However, late this morning our contractors found two sizeable slips, one at Pivot Creek, 10kms north of the Haast Pass summit and the other near the Gates of Haast. Unfortunately, these are likely to keep State Highway 6 closed for the remainder of the day.

“Work is underway to clear the slips and we will have a further update on the status of SH6 later this afternoon.”

Up to 400mm of rain in 48 hours closed three South Island roads overnight on Wednesday because of flooding, washouts and slips.

Mr Duncan says State Highway 94 from Lumsden to Te Anau remains closed with the approach to the bridge at Whitestone River having been washed out.  “A detour is in place from Hillside Road to Manapouri. Until water levels at the bridge have receded, we are unable to fully assess the damage and begin temporarily repairs.”

State Highway 73 remains closed from Cass to Arthurs Pass because of a slip near Arthur’s Pass. Work is underway clearing the slip, with an update of the status of the road expected later this afternoon.

Mr Duncan says SH 73 has re-opened on the West Coast side of Arthur’s Pass.

SH 94 Milford Road, from Cascade Creek to Milford Sound, is expected to open at 3pm today. Contractors are currently on-site cleaning up debris and clearing away minor slips. The road will close again at 7pm, as has been the case since the end of November, because of safety concerns with rock fall risks in the area.

Mr Duncan 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.”

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