Keeping State Highway 6 spick and span – night closures planned for February


The New Zealand Transport Agency/Waka Kotahi state highway summer maintenance programme continues in the top of the South Island.

State Highway 6 Whangamoa Saddle, between the Rai Valley and Hira, is the next in line for work.

This route will have three weeks of night closures in February for road resurfacing and maintenance work.

The work will run from 11 February until 1 March 2024. During this time State Highway 6 between Hira and Rai Valley will be closed from 8 pm to 5.30 am, Sunday to Thursday nights. No work will be undertaken on Friday and Saturdays.

Rob Service, System Manager Top of the South, says while maintenance of this important route is generally carried out each year, this is the first major work on the Whangamoa Saddle since the seven-week closure for flood repairs in 2022.

“We need to resurface parts of the highway before winter to ensure the highway is safe and in tip-top shape. Road crews will also be clearing water channels and fixing guardrails.”

“We have deliberately timed the work to happen at night and outside the busy holiday period. It means we affect as few road users as possible,” Mr Service says.

The road will be opened once per night at 12:30 am to let traffic through. Truckies and other drivers will need to plan carefully to ensure they meet this schedule.

Mr Service says given the narrowness of the road and the equipment being used, the highway must be closed.

“We realise road closures are disruptive, but they’re actually the best option. Not only are they safer for our road crews, but they also allow us to complete the work much quicker. Doing this work during the day under stop/go would take much longer and create more hassle for road users.”

“I want to thank road users for their patience and cooperation while this work is done. This work is all about making sure they have a better highway to drive on,” Mr Service says.

Works schedule and location

  • 11 February to 1 March. Sunday to Thursday nights, 8 pm – 5:30 am
  • No work will be done on Friday and Saturday nights. The highway will be open, but traffic management and temporary speed limits will apply at work areas.
  • There will be one nightly opening of the road at 12:30 am to allow vehicles through. Drivers must be at the closure points (at the weighbridge in Hira, and on the Rai Valley straight at Rai Engineering & Mechanical) by 12:30 am.
  • Bad weather may see works delayed or extended.
  • There will be other areas of work on our state highways across the top of the South during February. Please plan ahead when travelling.

Detour route

  • The alternate route for drivers wanting to travel over night between Blenheim and Nelson is via State Highway 63 and St Arnaud.
  • This a much longer route and will add more than two hours to travel times.
map showing detour at the top of the south island

Whangamoa Saddle night closures map.