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Canterbury/West Coast: Motorists urged to take extreme care

23 May 2014 | NZ Transport Agency - Southern Region

Motorists urged to take extreme care with road closures

Motorists are being advised to take extreme care on Canterbury/West Coast roads this weekend with road closures, flooding and wind warnings already in place throughout the region.

The NZ Transport Agency’s Senior Network Manager Mark Pinner says State Highway 73, from Arthur’s Pass to Jacksons, is closed with two slips in the area, including a massive slip on the West Coast side of Otira.

“State Highway 6, from Haast township and Makarora, is also closed. Heavy rain in the area has brought rock and material down on the highway at the Diana Falls slip site and at other areas of the highway through the Haast valley.”

He says west of Otira up to 8000 cubic metres of rock and material has come down on to the highway. The slip stretches along 100 metres of the highway and is up to six metres high.

“Further west, we have flooding at Kelly’s Creek and another slip at Aitkens. This slip is about 20 metres long and contains about 1000 cubic metres of rock and material.”

Mr Pinner says material is still coming down on to the highway. “We have equipment on site ready to begin clearing the slip as soon as it is safe to do so.

“At Haast Pass, our geotech experts will be on site in the morning to check whether the Diana Falls slip has stabilised. Once it is safe, our contractors will begin clearing the slip and get SH6 open as soon as possible.”

He says how quickly the state highways will re-open will depend a lot on how much rain falls overnight and whether any more material comes down onto the roads.

NB: The slip on State Highway 73 is west of Otira, not between Otira and Arthur’s Pass, as originally stated.

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