Nelson and Westport are both now accessible by the Lewis Pass and Springs Junction to the south and east, says Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, following the extensive flooding of recent days.
“We do need road users to understand that reopening the highway does not mean it is back to what it was last week,” says Tresca Forrester, Waka Kotahi Journey Manager.
“We need everyone’s patience and care on all upper South Island networks in coming days and weeks.”
Hard-working road crews have reopened the route connecting the Lewis Pass, SH7 at Springs Junction to SH65 through the Shenandoah and onto SH6 into Nelson, she says.
The Lower Buller Gorge route into Westport reopened this morning.
“The route to Westport is via Reefton and SH69 to Inangahua, giving Westport back its two access routes.”
The Coast Road, SH6, via Greymouth to Westport was reopened at the weekend.
“There is a five km single lane stretch on the Shenandoah highway, SH65, with drivers being piloted through initially today,” says Ms Forrester. “Crews are working hard to get the road back to two lanes so please be patient, bear in mind the hours they have been working also.
“People can now get to Nelson from the south via Blenheim and the Rai Valley. SH1 along the Kaikōura coast is open, then take SH6 from Blenheim to Renwick.”
The journey will be slower than usual given the amount of clearing up underway, says Ms Forrester.
Update at 3pm Monday 19 July: As of 3pm today the Upper Buller Gorge was reopened Murchison to Inangahua.
Major clearing is underway in the upper Buller Gorge, around Lyell, and around Inangahua today but overall there are just three stretches of highway remaining closed in Tasman and in Buller District.
Many roads remain closed and covered by washouts in the Marlborough Sounds area with Marlborough Roads crews working hard to reconnect communities off Queen Charlotte Drive, Kenepuru Road and in the Awatere Valley.
SH6 O’Sullivans Bridge (over the Inangahua River) to Inangahua.
SH6 Murchison to Inangahua, the Upper Buller Gorge. *See note above - now reopened.
SH63 Renwick to near St Arnaud – flooding/slips.
Plan ahead for a safe, enjoyable journey. Keep up to date with: