NZ Transport Agency crews are working at full tilt to reopen SH6 Rocks Road and SH60 at Bird's Hill as soon as it is safe to do so, as cleanup and repair operations continue on the highways throughout the upper South Island.
NZTA operations manager Mark Owen says the flooding has caused widespread damage and dozens of slips throughout the network, and while the weather has settled down and many roads have reopened, SH6 at Rocks Road and SH60 at Birds Hill remain closed.
"We have had crews hard at work at Rocks Road clearing slips and we have geotechnical experts inspecting the rock face on a crane. Once we are satisfied the rockface is safe and secure and Civil Defence approval has been granted, we are hoping to have the road reopened early Saturday afternoon, although it will be with reduced lane widths and cyclists will be asked to continue to use the detour."
"We appreciate the disruption this crucial route's closure is having on motorists and the region, and we’re committed to getting it reopened as soon as it is safe to do so."
While Rocks Road is closed motorists are asked to take the detoured route through Waimea Road.
Mr Owen says crews are also working hard to reopen SH60 at Bird's Hill.
"Getting Bird’s Hill reopened is a high priority as this is a key lifeline to the Golden Bay region, which is expected to become very busy in the leadup to Christmas. While the collapse of the road appears dramatic, our road crews are working minor miracles and expect to have a section of road reopened to one lane on Saturday afternoon."
Mr Owen advised that once the single lane operation was in use, motorists could expect delays of around 30 minutes. Stop/go traffic management will be in place.
Mr Owen says the NZTA are grateful to motorists for their patience and understanding.
Latest information of highway conditions and closures can be found at www.highwayinfo.govt.nz(external link) or by calling 0800 4 HIGWHAYS (0800 44 44 49).