Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency will be closing the Otira Gorge next week in order to undertake maintenance at the Rock Shelter, clearing the build-up of shingle and rocks on the shelter roof.
The Rock Shelter was inundated with shingle and slip material a week ago which overspilled onto the highway, closing the highway short-term. A helicopter was used to sluice the slip to make the highway temporarily safe and for SH73 to reopen.
“Next week we will be undertaking high pressure sluicing of the built up material to clear the shelter roof,” says Moira Whinham, Maintenance Contract Manager for Waka Kotahi on the West Coast.
“The work will be undertaken daily between 10 am and 3 pm. SH73 between Greymouth and Christchurch is still accessible outside these times, so road users need to plan journeys accordingly to travel before and after that five-hour timeslot,” she says.
Emergency vehicles will be managed through the site at all times.
Given the work is weather dependent, the full week has been set aside to complete this job and ensure the highway is ready for summer traffic.
“We encourage people who want to take SH73 to set off in plenty of time. We appreciate it is a busy time of the year for many people and thank everyone for being patient.”
Checkpoints will be set up at Arthur’s Pass village and Otira, where people can safely wait near public toilets and cafes. The alternative route is SH7 the Lewis Pass via Reefton and Waipara.
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