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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

After site investigations today at a rockfall on State Highway 6 west of Murchison, the road is to remain closed while Waka Kotahi contractors work to make the site safe for road users.

The rockfall occurred at Dellows Bluff, between Murchison and the O’Sullivan Bridge/State Highway 65 turn-off, before four am this morning. The State Highway has been closed while a thorough investigation of the rockface was carried out.

Andrew James, Systems Manager – Top of the South, says that work has shown there is a risk of further rockfalls above the road.

“We have to keep this section of State Highway 6 closed while we make it safe for traffic from the unstable rock above the road. You can see from the size of the boulders that came down earlier today there is a genuine risk to road users. Their safety is our priority”.

Mr James says the closure is set to last for several days and possibly longer. This is to allow safety barriers to be put in place to protect traffic while the rockface is stabilised.

“It’s going to take some time to put these barriers in place. Once they’re in, we can open a lane of the road that is fully protected while contractors work to remove the rockfall danger. That single lane will be in place while the rock face is fixed”.

Mr James says it is crucial road users factor this closure into their travel plans.

“It means there will be no direct link between Nelson and the West Coast, via the Buller Gorge or Springs Junction. It also means travellers heading to Nelson from Christchurch will not be able to use the inland route and will have to go up the East Coast via State Highway 1”.

Waka Kotahi will give and update the road’s status on Friday, 22 July. Travellers can also get the last State Highway information online on the Waka Kotahi website and via its social media channels.