A man has died after the car he was driving left the road and crashed into a rock in Westport this afternoon.

The man was found dead behind the wheel on Fairdown Rd about 1:30pm.

The Serious Crash Unit is investigating the crash.

Meanwhile, an elderly female woman was taken to Christchurch Hospital in critical condition after a separate crash this afternoon.

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Emergency services were called to the crash on Main South Rd at Templeton at 1.20pm after the woman hit a power poll and rolled her car.

No other vehicles were involved in the smash, Senior Sergeant Vaughn Lapslie said.

The road has been closed to southbound traffic. Diversions are in place for northbound traffic.

Traffic is backed up for "a couple of kilometres", Mr Lapslie said.