After an immense amount of work by contractors, the last closed section of State Highway 6 between Blenheim and Nelson will reopen to traffic at one pm tomorrow (Wednesday, 31 August).
The section over the Whangamoa Hill between Hira and Rai township was the worst damaged section of the highway.
Andrew James, System Manager Top of the South, says getting it open for road users required a massive effort.
“Over the last five days, we’ve had over 70 people working in the section each day. The crews have removed around 12 thousand tonnes of spoil and debris. Another 12,000 tonnes of hard fill have been brought in, and 300 tonnes of asphalt has been laid. Six 31 tonne dump trucks and 10 diggers have been flat out getting the road in a safe condition for vehicles to use it. I also want to thank the local forestry industry for their efforts in helping us with clearing the road.”
However, Mr James says what has been done so far is only the beginning.
“State Highway 6 between Blenheim and Nelson is nowhere near the state it was before the floods. What we have in place now are temporary measures to allow the road to reopen. Much more work will be needed to bring the road back up to its previous condition.”
There are multiple roadwork sections between Hira and Renwick, and there are three locations subject to stop/go traffic controls. Multiple speed restrictions are also in place and drivers must follow them for their safety and that of roadwork crews. Road users should expect significant travel time increases and factor it into their journeys. It may take over two hours to travel between Nelson and Blenheim.
Looking ahead, Mr James says there will be further closures of State Highway 6 to allow significant repairs to be carried out with as quickly and efficiently as possible.
“This won’t happen until after State Highway 63 through the Wairau Valley is reopened, and an alternate route between Nelson and Blenheim is available. We are still planning the timing for the State Highway 6 closures and will make sure road users get plenty of advance notice of when they will occur.”
Waka Kotahi is urging residents and road users to drive carefully when using State Highway 6, to keep travel to essential needs to minimise wait times and be aware more bad weather could see it closed at short notice.
For people trying to get to their homes in the Marlborough region, the Marlborough District Council has up to date road closure information.