Road between Fox Glacier and Franz Josef closed overnight due to intense rain

NZ Transport Agency
March 26, 2019

Update 6pm - 26 March 2019

South Westland’s Waiho River bailey bridge has been washed away this afternoon after several hours of torrential flood waters carrying large amounts of rock and material downstream battered its support piers.

“State Highway 6 is currently closed south of Hokitika. Given the bridge is now gone on one side, this closure will continue until the bridge and its abutment can be safely replaced,” says NZ Transport Agency Network Manager, Colin Hey.

Arthur’s Pass route closed at Candys Creek

Torrential rain has closed a second key highway to the West Coast this afternoon.

A slip at Candys Creek, State Highway 73, the Arthur’s Pass/ Otira route between the West Coast and Canterbury, has closed the highway at that point.

It will be reassessed Wednesday morning with an update around 8 am.

“Given the high rainfall forecast for tonight for Otira, we have made a call to keep this highway closed,” says Transport Agency Network Manager, Colin Hey.

The Lewis Pass via Reefton and Waipara, SH7, is the other key route between the West Coast and Canterbury which remains open.

While people are encouraged to restrict journeys in the heavy rain conditions to only essential trips, anyone travelling between the West Coast and Canterbury should check this page for updates:

West Coast’s South Westland highway to remain closed today and overnight due to intense rain, slips and high river levels .

The NZ Transport Agency is keeping State Highway 6 between Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers closed today after closing it earlier this morning after two slips covered the highway, triggered by torrential rain. The highway will remain closed overnight to Wednesday morning as the intense rain continues to fall, says Transport Agency Network Manager Colin Hey. The next update will be 8 am tomorrow.

“Our crews are clearing the slips on the Fox Hills, but given the rainfall intensity, we will keep this stretch of highway between the glaciers closed today as we are anticipating more slips and it is not safe for people to be on the highway in these conditions,” says Mr Hey.

He advised people on other parts of State Highway 6 to avoid all but essential travel. People cannot get north of Fox Glacier if heading north or south of Franz Josef if heading south.

The Waiho River in Franz Josef is running extremely high as is the Fox River.

“For people who have to use the roads around South Westland and further north today, please keep your speeds down, there will be surface flooding. Please watch out for speed restrictions, debris and road crews. Use your lights,” says Mr Hey.

Plan ahead for a safe, enjoyable journey. Keep up to date with:

For more information please contact:

Frances Adank

Media Manager

NZ Transport Agency

T: 03 964 2806

M: 021 705 613