Rockfall, slip closes SH73, Arthur’s Pass route between Canterbury and the West Coast


People wanting to get to Canterbury from the West Coast and vice versa should take the Lewis Pass, SH7 route via Reefton and Waipara today and tomorrow morning, says Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.

SH73 was closed mid-afternoon when a slip at the Rock Shelter on the West Coast side of the Arthur’s Pass road closed the highway, says Waka Kotahi Maintenance Contract Manager Moira Whinham. 

With rain continuing to fall across the Main Divide, it is not safe to reopen the highway tonight, says Ms Whinham. 

“People should check the Waka Kotahi traffic and travel page for updates. 

“Electronic message signs will be in place at each end of the road – near Kumara Junction and at Springfield warning people of this closure and road blocks are in place at Arthur’s Pass and Otira.” 

The Rock Shelter was built to protect SH73 from rockfall and slips which regularly occur at this part of the winding road between the top of Arthur’s Pass and Otira. 

In today’s wet weather the slip material has landed beyond the shelter itself, making it unsafe for traffic at this stage.

SH 73 Arthus Pass to Otira live update(external link)

View images and background on the Rockfall Shelter, built to protect road users from the shingle scree above it:

Arthur's Pass: Otra Gorge Rockfall Shelter(external link)

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