SH6 Fox to Franz Josef reopening 6 pm tonight, temporary road at Smithy’s Creek


Concerted efforts by NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi (NZTA) crews in South Westland will have SH6 fully reopened tonight at 6 pm (Friday).

All state highways throughout the West Coast will then be open and accessible. Drivers need to take care given the recent flooding and slips and drive to the conditions, says NZTA.

The last section of SH6, which runs along the West Coast between Hokitika and Haast, will open at 6 pm, and remain open through the night, subject to weather.

This is the section between the two glacier towns, Fox and Franz Josef. Travellers can expect delays up to 30 minutes given it is a temporary road surface over Smithy’s Creek bridge for this weekend.

“Crews started the temporary repair as soon as rain abated earlier today and with the creek level dropping, they were able to better assess what needed to be done. In this case we were lucky, the damage caused was not as bad as we had feared when the creek was overtopping the area,” says Mark Pinner, System Manager for NZTA, Canterbury and the West Coast.

“A rock bench under the road has meant the scour of the approach was not as severe as originally anticipated, and we have been  able to get a single lane, temporary road through today.”

The crew will be on site Saturday and back to Smithy’s Creek Monday to begin a more permanent fix, he says.

Westroads digger and crew in action today at Smithy’s Creek this morning

The highway between the glaciers over the bridge area will be monitored over the weekend and overnight.

  • It will be kept open subject to weather and could close at any time until the permanent repair is completed.
  • Travellers need to build in time on SH6 between Haast and Hokitika this weekend and for the next few weeks given the work to come, he says.

Check West Coast highway routes on Journey Planner(external link)