Haast Pass re-opens to traffic

SARAH-JANE O'CONNOR
Last updated 12:40 31/07/2014

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Haast Pass had reopened after a slip closed the road overnight.

State Highway 6 between Haast and Makarora was closed last night after rain brought 200 to 300 cubic metres of rock on to the highway yesterday afternoon.

New Zealand Transport Agency senior network manager Mark Pinner said contractors had been on site since early morning clearing the slip and the road had been reopened.

A number of large rocks had been cleared off the road but some debris remained, Pinner said.

Haast Pass has been regularly closed since a big slip at Diana Falls last September. The pass was closed for nine days and since then has been closed every night for safety.

The highway closes at 4pm at Haast and 4.30pm at Makarora every day and reopens about 9am.

Heavy rain had fallen in Westland over the past two days, with more forecast for the remainder of the week. Pinner advised drivers to take extra care on the road because of continued heavy rain and debris on the highway.

Today was at least the fourth time the road had been closed over the past three months.

Earlier in the week Pinner said work was progressing well on the installation of three rockfall fences being built across the Diana Falls slip face.

The fences were some of the biggest and most significant rockfall fences installed in New Zealand, he said.

Weather permitting, the work was scheduled to be completed in September and would allow for two-lane, 24/7 access to the highway. 

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