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Porters Pass, SH73, between Canterbury and the West Coast, highway update after Sunday’s bush fire

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A key alpine route between Canterbury and the West Coast, State Highway 73, will be a slower journey than usual for several weeks as guardrail is replaced and the highway cleared of rockfall.

Around 2.5 km of steep highway at Porters Pass, between Springfield and Castle Hill, will remain as single lane with Stop/Go until the guardrail has been restored. Rockfall will also be cleared from under the cliff faces, dislodged during the firefighting on Sunday, says Tresca Forrester, Journey Manager for the NZ Transport Agency.

Guardrail replacements start on Monday, 9 September, after the posts were burnt in Sunday’s bush fire which fully closed the highway between 6 am and 5 pm. (See photo below)

“Please expect delays and be patient once you are through the Stop/Go area,” says Ms Forrester. “There are temporary speed limits in place around the fire-affected areas and we need our crews to be safe in the next month while they replace the guardrail which prevents drivers going over the edge.

“The fire damage has heightened the risk of rockfall debris in some areas, particularly in wet weather. We know that wet weather is forecast for Wednesday and Thursday this week so our crews will be monitoring during this period for any more rockfall.

“The road may close at short notice if there are safety concerns.”

SH73 Porters Pass fire

SH73 Porters Pass and the remains of the guardrail with the supports burnt to the ground.

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