Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency says road repair crews are working hard to restore a flood-damaged highway, as West Coasters face a 1000-kilometre detour to get to Queenstown.
State Highway 6, north of Makarora, has been closed since Thursday, when torrential rain swept mud and debris from a slip across a kilometre of the highway at Muddy Creek.
Waka Kotahi spokesperson Robert Choveaux said at least 20,000 cubic metres of material needed to be removed before the road could re-open.
“We’ve had two excavators, five trucks, two loaders and a [bulldozer] all working on it. It is a national park, so we also need to be careful where we’re dumping our material.
He said the debris at the bridge was up to four metres deep and had turned “concrete hard” after snowfall since Thursday.
“The material’s stacked about three to four metres high on top of the structure, so there’s obviously concerns about the integrity of the structure once we get the material off of it.”
Waka Kotahi would provide an update at noon on Monday about when the highway might open or whether an escorted convoy was possible, Choveaux said.