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Transport Agency plans restricted opening of SH6 West Coast

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The NZ Transport Agency says it is on track to have one lane of State Highway 6 between the Gates of Haast Bridge and Haast Pass Summit open tomorrow, Friday 20 September.

The Transport Agency says the opening will be restricted to daylight hours, and the opening will depend on the weather.

A large slip at Diana Falls has kept the highway closed since 8pm on Tuesday, 10 September.

The Transport Agency’s Canterbury/West Coast Regional Performance Manager, Pete Connors, says good progress has been made on clearing the highway.

“We are now confident of having one lane available for drivers by around midday tomorrow. Our main challenge is that the slip face hasn’t settled completely and could be reactivated by rain or earthquake activity. On-going monitoring is necessary at the site, and for safety reasons we will be restricting highway openings to daylight hours between 8am until 6pm”.

Mr Connors says that if there is rain during the day it is possible the highway will be closed at short notice due to an increased risk of more debris coming down from the slip.

“While it’s not an ideal situation, it at least gets an important freight and tourism link between Otago and the West Coast, operating during daylight hours. We have to balance the needs of keeping the highway open for the communities and people who rely on it for access, along with the need to ensure that everyone using SH6 can do so safely.”

Mr Connors says highway openings will be managed carefully until the slip at Diana Falls settles. Gates either side of the slip will be used to physically close the highway and signage used to give people plenty of advance warning of a closure ahead.

Information will also be available at www.highwayinfo.govt.nz(external link), or by phoning 0800 444499. Roadside electronic signs at Fox Glacier and Lake Hawea will also have the latest on the availability of this section of highway.

For more information please contact:

Ewart Barnsley
Acting Christchurch Media Manager
M +64 27 2137616
E: ewart.barnsley@nzta.govt.nz
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