Road open 24/7

Milford road from the Homer Tunnel to Milford Sound is officially open 24/7 again.

The road has been closed at night for several months because of rock fall risk at the western entrance of the tunnel.

NZ Transport Agency Southland area manager Peter Robinson said snow and ice had ''locked up'' the faces of the rock and debris field above the western entrance to the tunnel, including the site where a 2000 tonne section of unstable rock was removed in June.

High magnitude blasts, like the one used in June, usually caused rock behind the blast zone to ''relax'' and was likely to create some more loose debris over time, he said.

That debris was expected to be removed over the Spring and Summer, once the weather improved, he said.

Until that work was done, the temporary portal extension at the tunnel would remain.

The work would be carried out in a way that minimised disruptions for road users and local tour operators, he said.

The agency would speak with Milford Sound business operators to discuss the best timing.

The Southland Times