Agency considering long-term fix for road

The NZ Transport Agency is yet to find a long-term solution to clear a slip at Diana Falls causing road closures and uncertainty to tourist operators along the Haast to Makarora highway.

The agency planned to host public meetings in Makarora and Wanaka yesterday but bad weather meant some representatives were unable to attend because of road closures.

Opus International Consultants geotechnical engineer Robert Bond was at Makarora to give an update.

He said progress would remain at the assessment stage for the next two weeks to try to figure out how best to manage the slip but a long-term fix was at least six to 10 weeks away.

The highway is closed to all traffic from 6pm to 8am every day.

However, heavy rain increased the danger of rock falls and further closures were needed as a safety precaution.

Those who attended the meeting suggested closing the road for two weeks but Mr Bond ruled this out.

"They [NZTA] really want to try and keep the tourists coming through."

The agency was aware the busy season for tourists was looming and if the road could be open, it should be open, he said.

Agency highways operations manager Peter Connors said other meetings were held in Haast, Hokitika, Fox Glacier and Franz Josef. "We believe in two to four weeks we will be able to get up the slip and start managing it safely. It's too unsafe at the moment."

The Southland Times