The NZ Transport Agency says the risk posed to motorists by a large slip above State highway 6 about 45km north of Wanaka prompted its decision put in place overnight closures on this section of highway.
NZ Transport Agency Central Otago Area Manager John Jarvis says the slip about 16km south of Makarora, came down 12 days ago has continued to deteriorate since then. While our contractors are working hard to clear debris from the site, heavy rain has exposed further material making the site dangerous at night when it is impossible to monitor what it is doing.
“With the safety of road users our number one priority the only logical decision was to close this section of highway between 7pm until 7am each night until we are confident the slip is safely stabilised. Just how long that will take depends on a number of factors including the weather. We understand the importance of this route and our contractor is working as quickly as possible to make this section of highway secure.”
The road is open to single lane traffic during the day although motorists can expect some minor delays while clearance work continues.
Mr Jarvis says the slip occurred late on Wednesday 5th September following recent heavy rain in area and a very shallow 5.2 magnitude earthquake that struck nearby two days earlier, which we suspect may have loosened the rock mass above the highway.
While we have been monitoring this site it does not have any previous history of slips, which are a constant risk in the area with its steep terrain and high rainfall he said.
For the latest information on this night time closure please go to www.highwayinfo.govt.nz(external link).