Road closure needed for emergency rock removal work at Homer Tunnel
20 May 2013
Closing the Milford Road at the Homer Tunnel for between 10 and 14 days from this Thursday (23 May) is the only way the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) can ensure road user safety, during emergency works to remove an unstable rock feature 700 metres above the western tunnel entrance.
Part of the rock feature broke free in November 2012 causing disruptions to traffic on Milford Road.
The NZTA have continued to monitor the feature since then with road user safety being its prime consideration. The latest on-site inspection last week by geotechnical experts revealed that the feature weighing about 2000 tonnes and about 20 metres in height is now largely detached from the rock face and likely to fall when it's put under pressure from winter freeze/thaw conditions.
There is a limited window of opportunity to do this work before the on-set of winter using carefully targeted precision drilling blasting using a New Zealand based team of high altitude rock stabilisation specialists. Weather permitting the team can begin work this Thursday.
If the job isn't done before winter, there is a risk there wouldn't be the margins of road user safety that would allow the NZTA to keep the road open throughout winter. When completed, this work will provide greater stabilisation of the rock face and ensure safe access on the Milford Road between now and the start of the busy summer tourist season.
Read more about the pinnacle removal (PDF, 570KB)
Click here for the latest on the Current Milford Road status.
On this page
- April 2013 (PDF, 38 KB)
- 15 February 2013 (PDF, 45KB)
- 23 January 2013 (PDF, 43KB)
- 23 January 2013 - media release
- 9 January 2013 - media release
- 8 January 2013 - media release
- 4 January 2013 (PDF, 18KB)
- 28 December 2012 (PDF, 22KB)
- 24 December 2012 (PDF, 36KB)
NZ Transport Agency Southland Area Manager
Mobile 021 575 239
As you are heading towards Milford you will travel through the Homer tunnel. This 1.2km tunnel means another 20 to 30 minutes to Milford Sound. Due to the current rockfall risk we have set up a safety traffic light facing into the tunnel. Should this light be red it is important that traffic stop as you do for any red light. A red light means rocks are falling from above the tunnel.
January 2013 - Temporary portal extension for Homer Tunnel
Work has started on the installation of a temporary portal extension at the Homer Tunnel on State Highway 94, as part of the agency’s efforts to improve safety for road users at a rock fall site in an area high above the western entrance of the tunnel.