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Bad weather delays re-opening of southern route to the West Coast

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Heavy rain has frustrated efforts by the Transport Agency to re-open State highway 6 between the Gates of Haast Bridge and Haast Pass Summit today, forcing the closure of the road until Wednesday at the very least.

A large slip at Diana Falls has kept the highway closed since last Wednesday.

Transport Agency West Coast Area Manager Mark Pinner says heavy overnight rain, which was not expected, has destabilised the slip site again and brought new debris down on to the road, making it unsafe for contractors to continue work. We now have to wait for the site to settle again to a point where we are confident it’s safe to resume work. Safety of the workforce is paramount and we cannot clear the rocks until the slip face has settled.

“This is a set back in getting this important route open again today, but achieving this was reliant on favourable weather. This failed to eventuate, and with further bad weather forecast for Wednesday, it has developed into a bit of day-to-day situation at the moment. However, we are doing our best in what is a challenging situation in very challenging terrain.”

Mark Pinner says we are expecting a report from our geotechnical team later today and this will give us a better idea of the scope of the issues we are dealing with. However, with the additional debris and what is continuing to fall, the clean-up job has got bigger.

The latest on information on this slip and other highway conditions can be found at www.highwayinfo.govt.nz(external link), or by phoning 0800 444499. Roadside electronic signs will carry the latest updates on road availability, at Fox Glacier and Lake Hawea.

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