Fresh rock slip north-east of Murchison; check Arthur’s Pass is open before you set off


People driving towards Nelson, Westport or Greymouth/the West Coast over this long weekend need to be aware of a few places where there will be traffic management and one place where bad weather could close a key highway at short notice, says Tresca Forrester, Journey Manager for Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.

Highway to Nelson, SH6: a good place to eat your sandwiches

People heading towards or away from Nelson using SH6 north of Murchison, need to build in an extra half hour or so over the next few days. 

A slip last night (Wednesday) is blocking a lane between the Owen River Bridge and the Kawatiri Bridge, making the road single lane. 

Traffic management (either Stop/Go or traffic signals at each end, 30 km/ h speed restriction) will be in place over the long weekend and into next week until this slip can be properly cleared up. 

People may be asked to stop on request from the traffic crew with 15-20  minute closures Friday morning for some scaling work (removing loose rocks before they fall). 

SH6 between Owen River Bridge and Kawatiri Bridge live update(external link)

Drivers need to anticipate the delay at each end, up to 30 minutes. It is a narrow section of highway as the photos below show.

location of tasman slip on google map

The red teardrop marks the site of the slip which has taken out a fence and tipped it onto the highway east of the Owen River.

West of Murchison existing storm damage, single lane

There is also a single lane area of highway west of Murchison to O’Sullivans Bridge, the turnoff to Westport on the Buller Gorge. This is a result of the July storms.  

SH6 Murchison to O'Sullivans Bridge live update(external link) 

SH73/ Arthur’s Pass highway: check before you head off

Following recent rockfall on the lower Otira Gorge, SH73, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency encourages people to check the road is open before setting off over Labour Weekend.

“If we get very heavy rainfall, there could be more rocks and slips so people should check the West Coast traffic traffic update page before setting off,” says Moira Whinham, Maintenance Contract Manager for Waka Kotahi.

The Lewis Pass, SH7 via Reefton and Waipara, is the alternative route between Greymouth and Canterbury.

West Coast live traffic updates(external link)

Labour Weekend travel tips for the South Island/Te Wai Pounamu(external link)

Plan ahead for a safe, enjoyable journey. Keep up to date with: