Milford Rd open for day traffic

The Milford Rd will be open for restricted hours for the next few weeks.

The road was opened yesterday after a helicopter inspection and a geotechnical assessment of the fractured rock site.

The road was closed on Tuesday because of the risk of rock falls above the western portal of the Homer Tunnel.

New Zealand Transport Agency area manager Peter Robinson said full traffic control would be in place between Avalanche Creek to the Chapel.

Road users would be asked to follow directions given by road workers and stick to the no-stopping requirement at the western side of the tunnel. This would be strictly enforced, he said.

For the next few weeks the section of road between Hollyford turnoff and Milford would be closed every night from 6pm till 7am for safety reasons, Mr Robinson said.

Monitoring of the rocks above the tunnel will continue. Because this cannot be done effectively during the hours of darkness it was decided to close the road overnight.

If heavy rain was forecast the Hollyford to Milford section of the highway would be closed to ensure the safety of travellers, Mr Robinson said.

The agency hoped to firm up plans to safely remove loose rock from above the western tunnel entrance in the next few days. Tour operators will get twice daily updates on road conditions to help them plan their Milford operations during the next few weeks.

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The Southland Times