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Major slip closes State Highway 6

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The NZ Transport Agency says a major slip near Boundary Creek, between Makarora and the Neck* of Lake Wanaka, has covered both lanes of the highway.

“The slip occurred overnight and covers both lanes. At this stage the highway is likely to remain closed until at least 10am Monday 1 August. There is an unknown amount of unstable material being assessed by engineers above the slip,” says John Jarvis, NZ Transport Agency Senior Network Manager, Otago. “Trucks and loaders are being sent to the site and clearance work will be undertaken to clear it as soon as it is safe to do so. We will update our NZ Transport Agency web site(external link) as new information comes to hand.” 

Slip alongside Lake Wanaka today.

Slip alongside Lake Wanaka today.

Slip alongside Lake Wanaka today.

Other parts of the South Island’s highways are icy with driving care required. Two other parts of the highway are closed due to snow currently.

  • State Highway 93 Mataura to Clinton in Southland was closed earlier today due to snow and may remain closed until 1 pm. Crews are working hard to clear the road.
  • State Highway 94 Te Anau to Milford remains closed due to snow.

Update from Southland’s contracting teams:

  • Snow started falling around 7 pm in Southland Saturday night. The worst affected areas were SH93 Old Coach Road and SH94 Gorge Hill. Crews were ploughing throughout the night.  One vehicle trapped on SH93 was helped out with a grader.
  • Grader and gritting crews are currently (Sunday morning/ midday) working in the Ohai area, Jollies Hill, Gorge Hill, Arthurton to Invercargill and manning the road at both ends of the closed SH93 Mataura to Clinton (Aiming to open this afternoon). Lumsden remains potentially very icy and may freeze later today. 

Canterbury-West Coast

  • The Canterbury-West Coast alpine passes (SH7 Lewis i.e. Hamner to Springs Junction and Springs Junction to Reefton and SH73 Arthurs/ Otira), also Lindis in South Canterbury, are all open but chains are essential. Conditions can deteriorate quickly and change over one day. No towing vehicles on the Lewis and Arthurs Pass routes.

Otago/ Southland general warnings

  • There is black ice on State Highway 6 Queenstown to Cromwell with extreme care needed and snow and ice between Lumsden and Kawarau Falls, also SH6.

All drivers need to be careful especially under shaded areas that get little sun, keep safe following distances and drive prepared for the cold and slippery winter conditions, says John Jarvis.

Southland and Otago drivers should plan their journeys after checking weather forecasts. Check the Transport Agency’s traffic map and the MetService’s snow forecast(external link).

 *The Neck is a low saddle between Lakes Hawea and Wanaka.

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