State Highway 94 Milford Road is likely to re-open tomorrow (10 January) but the NZ Transport Agency warns motorists it could be later in the morning because of continual heavy rain in the area.
The road was closed at 7pm on Tuesday (8 January) between Homer Tunnel and Murrell’s Bridge (Milford side) because of safety concerns with rock fall risks in the area as a result of heavy rain.
This closure was extended to Cascade Creek (Te Anau side) earlier this afternoon because of potential flooding and walkers in the area from the Homer Tunnel to Cascade Creek notified of the closure and flooding risks.
The NZ Transport Agency’s Southland State Highway Operations Manager Peter Robinson says rain has been falling steadily in the area at up to 20mm an hour. “Rain like this for sustained periods of time is not unusual in the Milford area however it does mean we now also face the risk of flooding in the area.
He says with further rain and thunderstorms predicted tomorrow, the road may remain closed tomorrow. “The continued heavy rain means that before the road can re-open a full road inspection needs to be completed; this involves checking all the culverts and bridges along the road for any damage and/or debri blockages, possible road surface damage, slips, tree falls and any rock fall.
“The situation will be reviewed again in the morning and an inspection of the road and rock fall risk areas undertaken as soon as it is safe for contractors to go into the area.”
Mr Robinson says motorists are advised to check the NZTA website – www.nzta.govt.nz(external link) – for the latest update on the status of the road.
Nightly closures of Milford Road from 7pm to 7.30am have been in place since late November as a cautionary safety measure because of rock fall risks. These closures will continue through to the end of January as NZTA works to manage rock fall risks in the area.