Helicopter helping clear SH6 rockfall

01:26, Jun 26 2014
Rockfall on State Highway 6 near Makarora
EXPECTED TO REOPEN TOMORROW: Rockfall has closed State Highway 6 near Makarora.

A helicopter with a monsoon bucket is helping clear rockfall that has closed State Highway 6 near Makarora.

Transport Agency senior network manager John Jarvis said the 2000-cubic-metre rockfall came down at 6am this morning, about 15km south of Makarora.

It is roughly 50 metres long and four to six metres deep.

The rockfall occurred west of the Diana Falls slip site near Haast Pass, where the road also remains closed.

"We currently have a helicopter using a monsoon bucket to sluice away any remaining loose rock from the top of the rockfall site," Jarvis said.

"This rockfall is larger than the one two years ago, about 100 metres further north. The speed of the clearing work will depend on the size of some rocks with indications that there are some very large slabs of rock buried in the debris.

"We understand our customers will be inconvenienced by this situation and are making every effort to get at least one lane of the highway open as soon as it is safe to do so."

The road was unlikely to open until midday tomorrow.

Recent heavy rain was believed to have caused the rockfall.


The Southland Times