Lane blasted through rockfall on highway

GRANT BRYANT IN QUEENSTOWN
Last updated 05:00 24/08/2013

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The West Coast's southern route has reopened after rock blasting cleared a single traffic lane through a massive 750-tonne rockfall that blocked the road on Thursday night.

NZ Transport Agency West Coast senior asset manager Mark Pinner said there was good visibility either side of the rockfall, and the single lane would be signposted "like a single lane bridge, where traffic from one side gives way to the other".

The rockfall was stable enough to keep the lane open overnight.

Explosive blasting to clear the rockfall started yesterday afternoon, and would continue this morning, invariably causing delays, Mr Pinner said.

"We'll keep any halts on traffic down to 20 minutes.

"We've got as much as 750-odd tonnes of rock to shift and a single truckload can only take 35 tonnes, so I'm sure people will appreciate we have a pretty big job to do, which will continue through the weekend," Mr Pinner said.

The cluster of large boulders, some the size of a house, caused the closure of State Highway 6 about 1 kilometre west of Clarke's Bluff, after it was discovered yesterday morning.

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- The Southland Times

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