The NZ Transport Agency has crews clearing at least three slips which covered and closed the highway north of Haast near Lake Moeraki and Paringa, earlier this morning after 10 am.
“At this stage it is looking like the highway may remain closed today given the ongoing bad weather which has led to multiple slips south of Fox Glacier,” says the Transport Agency’s West Coast Maintenance Contract Manager Margarita Gonzalez-Borrero.
There are two slips near Lake Moeraki. Crews are aiming to get a lane cleared to be able to inspect the remaining highway north to Paringa and check for any stranded vehicles, she says.
Reports are that one slip at Moeraki Bluffs is covering at least 50 metres of highway both lanes. Meanwhile crews are also clearing the slip covering the highway at Lake Paringa to the north.
Please check the Traffic and Travel pages for further updates on the status of the highway. The next updates on the highway status will likely be around 4 pm and then 6 pm.
Since Friday afternoon more than 100mm of rain has fallen in the Haast area and 65mm in Whataroa. Rain is still falling heavily in South Westland this afternoon with more than 25mm between 10 and 11 am this morning.
The Transport Agency crews are working along the highway from both sides of the slip area to ensure people are safe and able to make their way along State Highway 6 as soon as they are able to safely get one lane clear.
There are a number of other smaller slips on the highway from Fox Glacier south to Haast but most are not affecting traffic lanes.
There is no simple detour to State Highway 6 between South Westland and Otago: SH 73 via Arthurs Pass and SH1 along the east coast.
When the highway does reopen, drivers will need to exercise caution while crews and machines clean-up sites with Stop/Go, single lanes and traffic management north of Haast.