SH6 South Westland, remaining closed between glacier towns as of midday


The highway to Haast in South Westland is closed from Franz Josef due to two slips covering the road with the recent intense heavy rain.

One of the slips will be cleared by midday closer to Haast with the road open to a single lane at that point. Traffic will then be able to get to Fox Glacier from the south.

  • The orange MetService warning remains in place currently, with more rain expected overnight from midnight tonight.

The most recent slip occurred overnight on the Fox Hills between Franz Josef and Fox Glacier townships, says NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi (NZTA). The next update is 5 pm today for this slip, with crews working today to clear a single lane. An update will be provided if this occurs before 5 pm.

Fox Hills slip site, SH6, earlier today

The first slip on SH6 occurred around 6 pm Tuesday night south of Bruce Bay, says NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi (NZTA). Both lanes were covered with material and with darkness and heavy rain falling the decision was made to close the highway overnight and inspect at first light, says Moira Whinham, Maintenance Contract Manager for NZTA on the West Coast.

  • This slip will be cleared enough to open the highway to a single lane from midday today. This will enable traffic to get between Haast and Fox Glacier.

Overnight closure Franz Josef to Haast/Makarora, SH6

“Regardless of our progress on these slips today, SH6 will close between Franz Josef and Haast overnight tonight from 9 pm until mid-morning (10am) Thursday, due to high risk of further slips/trees on the road in darkness,” she says, based on the ongoing rain forecasts. 

It is also possible the closure could go back into Otago as far as Makarora, given overspilling likely to occur later tonight on that side of SH6.

  • NZTA advises travellers to review their journeys south of Franz Josef, north of Haast this morning given the uncertainties on the weather and the possible impact on road conditions.
  • From 9pm tonight to 10 am Thursday, SH6 will be closed Haast to Franz Josef. The closure could go back into Otago, and start at Makarora.
  • If conditions deteriorate during the day, the highway may close earlier than 9 pm.
  • Check the NZTA traffic and travel page for confirmation later today

Otago Highway conditions updates(external link)

West Coast slip updates(external link)

The slip sites: South of Bruce Bay bottom closure ready to reopen midday today, Fox Hills slip to the north between the glacier towns update by 5 pm: