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Arthur’s Pass highway, SH73, remaining closed again today and overnight

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The Arthur’s Pass/Otira gorge route linking the West Coast and Canterbury will remain closed for the rest of today and overnight, says Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency. The next update on the highway’s status will be around 10 am Wednesday morning 20 October.

A slurry of rocks yesterday from a new slip above the western end of the Rock Shelter on the Otira gorge, SH73, closed the road mid-afternoon and overnight. Scree and boulders from the steep slope above the shelter continued to fall with the rain, blocking the lower end of the road. 

“The slope is being sluiced today using a helicopter,” says Moira Whinham, Waka Kotahi Maintenance Contract Manager for the West Coast. 

“While sluicing has reduced the material at the margins of the slip, continued heavy rain in the area is causing ongoing rockfall.  The rockfall will be reassessed tomorrow once the weather eases.” 

The sluicing is weather and wind dependent. 

The Rock Shelter was built in 2001 after the Viaduct was completed. It was built to protect road users and their vehicles from rockfall and slips which regularly occur at this part of the winding road between the top of Arthur’s Pass and Otira. 

SH 73 Arthus Pass to Otira live update(external link)

Photos taken on Monday of the Rock Shelter on SH73 and the shingle slide at one end:

rock shelter on the side of hill

rock shelter shingle slide

Take the Lewis Pass

The alternate, slightly longer route linking Greymouth to Christchurch is via Reefton and Waipara, the Lewis Pass, SH7.

 

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