Good progress safety project Mingha Bluff to Rough Creek, SH73 West Coast to Canterbury via Otira – traffic lights starting this week


The next stage of the NZ Transport Agency’s Mingha Bluff to Rough Creek realignment project is about to begin, with drivers likely to have short delays over a one-lane stretch for several months.

This project on SH73 is in the Arthur’s Pass National Park, running between Greyney’s Shelter, around Mingha Bluff and Halpin Creek to Rough Creek near Arthur’s Pass Village. 

Traffic lights will control traffic movements at Mingha Bluff as the existing road is connected to the new, wider and safer alignment closer to the railway line. 

Other work also beginning on SH73

Works at several other places on SH73 are also due to start in coming days and potentially create five to ten minutes delays at each point. These include resurfacing on the Otira viaduct, Windy Point (between the Viaduct and Otira), and Punchbowl Falls near Arthur’s Pass village. These could involve short delays with Stop/ Go people on duty and are dependent on dry weather. 

Please build in time

In constricted locations, delays may occasionally be longer up to 20 minutes so drivers on SH73 should be building in at least 30-40 minutes to their journey leading into Christmas and in the New Year when work resumes. 

What has been happening at Mingha Bluff?

Since the $22 million, two-year project started this year, one of two South Island projects to benefit from central Government’s $80 million five accelerated regional highway projects(external link), most of the activity has been out of sight below road level. 

The contracting teams are now closer to the existing road and have made good progress on a number of fronts, said Colin Knaggs, NZ Transport Agency State Highway Manager. 

“The Transport Agency’s contractor Hawkins has started installing a number of culverts which go under the railway line and the Mingha Bluff retaining wall construction has begun. 

“The approach to Halpin Creek is much better established below the level of the existing road and fibre optic cable has been relocated. 

“Environmental protocols are being met with high water quality levels and kiwi surveys ongoing prior to all vegetation removal. There are no signs of kiwi found to date in this area.” 

The Mingha Bluff to Rough Creek realignment will improve safety over five kilometres of narrow, winding road with many tight corners and a lack of visibility. The carriageway will be widened to nine metres providing a safer and more forgiving route. 

Previous safety improvements on SH73 through the Alps connecting the west and east coasts of the south Island include the Otira Viaduct and Candy’s Bend improvements. 

See details of this project in earlier release(external link) from May this year. 

Project page: SH73 Arthurs Pass (Mingha Bluff realignment) link)


The drilling rig at Mingha Bluff

The drilling rig at Mingha Bluff has already created some short delays for drivers on the journey along SH73 since the realignment project started in May this year.


The retaining wall takes shape at Mingha Bluff near the railway line.

The retaining wall takes shape at Mingha Bluff near the railway line.