Day long closure for bridge repair Wairau Valley, State Highway 63 – an hour added to journey for Lewis Pass drivers, Picton to Christchurch


The NZ Transport Agency is closing the Wairau River Bridge on State Highway 63 this Friday, 22 June from 6 am.

The bridge, commonly called The Wash Bridge, is expected to be reopened by 6 pm or earlier.

“The closure is necessary for safety reasons to mend the bridge’s concrete deck surface. It will entail a significant detour of about an hour and ten minutes for drivers on the Picton to Christchurch route,” says Frank Porter, System Manager for the Transport Agency.

“We apologise for the inconvenience to road users. We ask drivers to build in some extra time for the journey and take it quietly on the detour route through Nelson which may be slightly busier than usual. Drivers may want to avoid the peak commuter hours in Nelson and Richmond if they can.”

The closure will be well signalled at each end and crews will be aiming to complete the work as efficiently as possible to reduce the time the highway between Renwick, near Blenheim, and St Arnaud, is closed to through traffic, Mr Porter says.

Drivers may also choose to take State Highway 1 through Kaikōura, currently open 24/7. There are a number of Stop/ Go places and 30km/ hour areas along the way where the highway is still being rebuilt after the November 2016 earthquake and the more recent ex-cyclone Gita.

Significant detour through Havelock into Nelson

  • Drivers coming south from Picton will be detoured onto State Highway 6 to Havelock and Nelson emerging at Kawatiri Junction, north of Murchison.
  •  Northbound drivers will be detoured north at Kawatiri Junction, into Nelson and the Rai Valley, Havelock and Blenheim or Picton.

“This work will only go ahead if State Highway 1 and State Highway 6 are both open on Friday,” says Mr Porter. “We will update on our web map(external link) if this date is changed for any reason.”

How to stay up to date:

For travellers between Christchurch and Picton check real time information: link)

Important information is also shared via the Transport Agency’s official Twitter and Facebook(external link) accounts listed here: link)

Drivers can also call 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49) to speak to the call centre team for traffic and travel information.

Check the MetService: link) for the latest severe weather warning and watches.