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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is aiming to re-open the Haast Pass link between the South Island’s West Coast and Otago/Queenstown to a single lane of traffic for light vehicles to be escorted through at set times from tomorrow (Tuesday 26 September).

Crews are continuing their work this afternoon to clear slip material from the Muddy Creek bridge and its approaches by the end of today, and a structural engineer is on site to assess the bridge and ensure it is safe to carry traffic from tomorrow.

“Conditions at the site remain dynamic, challenging and subject to change – any amount of rainfall could affect access. There is still a significant amount of material to be removed, but based on current progress we are optimistic that controlled access will be safe from tomorrow morning,” says Robert Choveaux, System Manager for Southland and Otago for Waka Kotahi.

Weather permitting and subject to confirmation following a final assessment at 9am tomorrow, two escorted convoys for light vehicles only will be run tomorrow – at 12pm and 4.30pm. The convoys will be escorted one way at a time with front and rear pilot vehicles starting with the Lake Hawea side – once the convoy reaches the end of the site, the pilots will escort vehicles from the West Coast side through.

Waka Kotahi is asking that anyone who needs to cross be at the road closure points before these opening times.

Mr Choveaux stressed that the planned escorted convoys are dependent on weather and conditions on the ground.

Travel for the remainder of this week will also be under escorted travel as per the conditions outlined above, with the following set times:

  • 8am
  • 12pm
  • 4.30pm

“Conditions can change quickly, and a full closure could occur without warning, so we urge people to limit trips to essential travel only, and to be prepared as we cannot guarantee a return trip on the same day. We’re asking everyone to check the latest conditions on our on-line to journey planner and watch out for our social media posts for more updates.”

Waka Kotahi Journey Planner(external link)

Mr Choveaux says crews will continue working throughout the week to clear material and stabilise the road in order to re-open the route for unescorted access as soon as possible.

“We understand how vital this highway link is for everyone in the region. Our crews are continuing to work extremely hard in a restricted, narrow strip of road to restore two-lane access as quickly as possible.”