Project introduction

Following significant rainfall in early December, State Highway 6, South Westland, was closed in several places by slips. The highway reopened on 20 December 2019.

About the project

Crews continue to repair storm damage to the highway during the day especially between Harihari and Whataroa. Please obey all stop-go and traffic light controls.


Following heavy rainfall in the first week of December, including torrential rainfall overnight on Friday 6 December, multiple slips and rock falls occurred in various places in South Westland from Ross right through to Karangarua in the south (approximately 150km of State Highway 6). Most of the slips were cleared quickly in the days following the rain, with teams working simultaneously on as many as 11 sites.

Location Status Description
Ross to Harihari Cleared In this section there was extensive tree fall, minor slips and road shoulder erosion, mainly through the section of road known as Fergusons Bush.
Harihari to Whataroa Cleared – caution required Be aware this section of road could close again if there is a severe weather event. Major repairs are still being carried out. The worst damage occurred here, including two very large slips and areas where the road dropped away partially or entirely.
Whataroa to Franz Josef Cleared Two significant slips and damage to the road surface.
Franz Josef to Fox Glacier Cleared Two areas where the road dropped, two large debris flows, numerous minor slips and damage to the road surface and shoulder.
Fox Glacier to Karangarua Cleared Two areas where creeks carried large amounts of debris over the road, flooding and damage to the road shoulder and surface.

Project timeline

Crews worked extremely hard to reopen the State Highway before Christmas. Repairs will continue for the next few months.