Work is underway on clearing a major slip in the Haast Pass area that has closed State highway 6 between Haast and Makaroa since yesterday morning, with the road likely to re-open later tomorrow.
Transport Agency West Coast Area Manager Mark Pinner says the slip at Diana Falls has stabilised enough to make it safe to start clearing work. However, due to the damage to the road, and the culvert currently covered by rockfall, it’s not feasible it will re-open today. Stability of the rock face above the road is being assessed again later today, now that the rain has eased. There will be a further update on the situation tomorrow morning.
“Most of the issues on the highway, including the Diana Falls slip, are within a 2km area between the Gates of the Haast Bridge and the Haast Pass Summit. There has also been many debris flows. These are being cleared at the same time as the rockfall is being cleared”.
“The slip is about 50 metres high with at least 500 tonne of debris along the road below. Even though clearing work is underway, we won’t have a complete picture of the amount of damage we are dealing with until the slip debris is removed.
Mark Pinner says we know how important this route is and are a putting all the resources we have available into getting it open as soon as possible. In this mountainous terrain, these types of events while very disruptive, they are not uncommon.
All other routes to the West Coast Region are open. The latest on information on this slip and other highway conditions can be found at www.highwayinfo.govt.nz(external link), or by phoning 0800 444499. Roadside electronic signs will carry the latest updates on road availability, at Fox Glacier and Lake Hawea.