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Storm taking its toll on West Coast highways

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The Transport Agency says State Highway 6 from Haast to Makaroa is unlikely to open until at least midday tomorrow, with storm related slips and debris blocking the road.

Transport Agency West Coast Area Manager Mark Pinner says despite the weather offering little respite in the next 24 hours, we are doing our best re-open this most southerly road access to the West Coast.

“There are numerous slips, most notably at Halfway Bluff and at Diana Falls, with the latter leaving a 30 metre long trail of debris on the road. The sites are still very active with rock coming down from above the road. There are also a number of debris flows across the road which will need to be cleared to make the route passable. Access to the sites is proving difficult.”

Mark Pinner says our contractors and consultants are slowly getting access to these sites, to assess the possible damage to our structures, and to the stability of the newly exposed rockfaces. A bridge engineer and geotechnical engineer are assessing the sites. A break in the weather is also needed to gauge the full extent of damage, also caused by swollen rivers. We will appraise the road opening once we have heard back from the field inspections.

Despite what is one of the worst storms in the region in years road access to the West Coast is still available via the Arthurs Pass , the Lewis Pass, and through to the North at Nelson. The latest on information on West Coast Highways can be found at www.highwayinfo.govt.nz(external link) or by phoning 0800 444499. Local road condition signs at Fox Glacier and Lake Hawea will provide roadside updates of the current status of road openings.

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