Waimakariri Bluffs rock scaling – timing advice for road users


The NZ Transport Agency last week started tree trimming ahead of a significant programme of rock removal using abseilers at Waimakariri Bluffs, the Arthur’s Pass route between Canterbury and the West Coast.

See earlier media release(external link)

“Work is underway between 7 am and 7 pm, weekdays, with State Highway 73  reduced to one lane controlled by Stop/Go traffic management. Drivers are advised to build in extra time on this route to the end of the year,” says Transport Agency Portfolio Manager Colin MacKay. 

Closures at each end of the one-lane area under the bluffs have so far been largely kept to a maximum of 30 minutes. 

However, as the rock scaling activities progress this week, road users are advised that there could be slightly longer closures over the course of the day.

 There will be road openings on the hour every hour between the hours of 8:00am and 5:00pm weekdays.  

“We encourage drivers to be aware of the need to look after themselves and other road users on this highway through the mountains which offers few safe passing opportunities. Please be patient for everyone’s safety.” 

At weekends, and outside 8am to 5 pm weekdays, delays should be under ten minutes.

Due to the recent fire at Porters Pass, there is an area with ten-minute delays to the west where guardrail is being replaced, says Mr MacKay. “Crews on Porters Pass are working hard to keep delays to a minimum and that repair work should be completed by early October.”

Please slow down and take extra care driving through both sites, the Transport Agency advises.

Plan ahead for a safe, enjoyable journey. Keep up to date with: