The NZ Transport Agency says contractors have made good progress clearing the last remaining slip on SH73 at Otira, in an effort to re-open the highway to traffic as soon as possible.
Transport Agency Journey Manager Lee Wright says contractors have been working urgently since daybreak to clear the 20,000 m3 slip which closed the road early yesterday morning.
“We’re dealing with a very large slip and conditions remain difficult, but our contractors are making great progress. Crews have been attacking the slip from both sides, with 16 trucks, five excavators, four dump trucks, a large bulldozer and three wheel loaders all in action. They’ve managed to clear about 6,000m3 today, on top of around 3,500m3 cleared yesterday, so we’re about half way there.
“The crews will do everything possible to get the slip cleared and the highway re-opened before the end of the weekend, but they will have their work cut out for them, with more heavy rain forecast on Saturday and Sunday.”
Ms Wright says a status update will be provided by midday Saturday.
While there is no detour in place, Ms Wright says motorists can still access the West Coast by travelling north along SH1 and over to the Coast on State Highway 7 through Lewis Pass.
“This will add an extra hour and a half to your journey, so please factor in the extra time, be patient and drive carefully.”
Ms Wright also urged people to keep a close eye on conditions over the weekend.
“With Metservice predicting more rain there could be the possibility of further slips along in areas already saturated from the heavy rainfall earlier in the week.”