Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has organised convoys of traffic out of Te Anau from the Five Rivers Junction (intersection of state highways 6 and 97) late this afternoon to 7 pm (hourly), through to Frankton near Queenstown, where the highways to the north are open.
As one convoy sets off from Frankton’s Lakeside Estate (where the highway closure is in place), another convoy will set off north from Five Rivers. The route takes about an hour each way.
The convoys will operate continually on the hour at each end today – 4 pm, 5 pm, 6 pm and 7 pm and Thursday, Waitangi Day – 7 am, 8 am and 9 am.
The highway will close at 10 am Waitangi Day for final repairs before mid-afternoon reopening. People should check these web links to see when the highway has reopened:
“The highway between Frankton and Five Rivers/Lumsden is currently closed with slips and there are rockfall concerns which is why traffic has to be managed in convoy,” says Transport Agency Journey Manager Peter Brown.
“We are aiming to have this highway, SH6 Frankton to Lumsden, reopened mid Thursday afternoon.
“We continue to encourage drivers and people in Te Anau to wait if possible to make the journey out, but we understand some people are keen to get in or out of Te Anau hence this convoy system to take pressure off today and tomorrow morning.”
Drivers leaving Te Anau are likely to pass through some surface flooding at The Key to Mossburn and through to Five Rivers via SH97. This link route to Five Rivers reopened late this afternoon. At Five Rivers they will join the convoy queue.
Mr Brown thanked all drivers for their patience if they were joining a convoy group and to bear in mind the extent of flooding affecting so many highways over the two southern regions, Otago and Southland.
Although the highway south of Lumsden is open, the bridges over the Makarewa River, north of Invercargill, are closed to all traffic due to rising river levels.
All other information about the Milford Road and wider highways updates for Southland and Otago is covered in our earlier update:
Fiordland, Southland and Otago highways update(external link)
(Please check the web map below for most up to date changes)
The Transport Agency is currently awaiting word from Civil Defence on the safety of opening SH93 linking Clinton to Mataura and SH1 after earlier concerns about the potential for industrial gas in Mataura at the paper mill linked to the flooding Mataura River. At this stage, this highway seems unlikely to open in the next few hours. For updates on this situation check this web site https://civildefencesouthland.govt.nz/(external link)
Check the NZTA web maps for closures and delay points.
A state of emergency was declared on Tuesday 4 February for the Southland Region, including Gore, due to extensive flooding. A state of emergency has also been declared for the Clutha District due to widespread flooding.
The road to Milford Sound / Piopiotahi, SH94, was closed Monday between Cascade Creek and West Gate (the Chasm). A state of emergency for the Fiordland community board area was declared by Southland Civil Defence Monday afternoon.
Evacuations of people from Milford Sound / Piopiotahi is being managed by Southland Civil Defence Emergency Management.