21 Jan 2017

Rain could delay work to clear massive slip

9:02 am on 21 January 2017

Contractors have mounted a huge operation to clear a 20,000 cubic-metre slip blocking State Highway 73 between Christchurch and the West Coast.

The New Zealand Transport Agency said the most significant slip was just east of Aitkens, where about 20,000 cubic metres of debris was covering the road.

The slip closed State Highway 73 just east of Aitkens, covering the road with about 20,000 cubic metres of debris. Photo: NZTA

The slip closed the road at Otira early on Thursday morning.

A New Zealand Transport Agency spokesperson said 16 trucks, five excavators, four dump trucks, a large bulldozer and three wheel-loaders were involved in the project.

While it and other slips isolated Arthur's Pass, the way through from Christchurch was cleared yesterday.

The agency was worried more heavy rain scheduled for today and Sunday could make the work harder, the spokesperson said.

Drivers wanting to reach the West Coast from Canterbury would have to use State Highway 7 through Lewis Pass, adding 1.5 hours to the journey.

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