State highway reopens as boulder cleared
Motorists can now get through the Haast Pass after a huge boulder fell on the road overnight, temporarily closing State Highway 6 to all traffic.
The boulder, measuring about 10 metres by 10m, fell about a kilometre west of Clarke Bluff.
But NZ Transport Agency senior asset manager for the West Coast, Mark Pinner, said this afternoon the highway was reopened to single-lane traffic.
Contractors would remain on site clearing as much of the slip rocks and debris until dusk.
''A significant number of large boulders fell on to the road 1km west of Clarke's Bluff. These are extremely large and we are having to blast most of them to be able to remove them from the highway," Pinner said.
''It is estimated 750 tonnes of rock has fallen. It will be blasted and removed to Burke Flat.''
The rock was ''the size of a house, weighing 200 to 300 tonnes''.
A geotechnical expert was flown on site early this afternoon to check the area had stabilised and that it was now safe for motorists to travel through the area.
''Our contractors will be on site again at first light tomorrow to keep working on clearing the road. Motorists are advised to expect delays as this work progresses throughout the weekend,'' Pinner said.
It is not known at this stage what caused the massive rockfall, he said.
Electronic sign updates are located on the highway at Lake Hawea and Fox Glacier.
Updates are also available online at highwayinfo.govt.nz or by phoning 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (444 449).
- © Fairfax NZ News
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