No fast fix for road
Communications have improved regarding road closures at the Diana Falls slip but the road is not expected to be clear until March. At meetings in Makarora and Wanaka, New Zealand Transport Agency performance manager Peter Connors said the bill had topped $2 million but the road was not expected to be open to two lanes for four months. ‘‘We are stuck with this for some time. We can’t make wild promises here to make it better,’’ Mr Connors said. Direct communications were now available from contractors working on the slip to Haast and Makarora. Raising the road, installing side protection, installing fences above the road and a catch pit were all being considered as long term solutions. The slip occurred on September 10 after heavy rain and a geotechnical report found there was a likelihood of further ‘‘massive failure’’ and a large quantity of unstable high risk rolling blocks. NZTA southern regional director Jim Harland said: ‘‘We are committed to getting this thing moving fast.’’ However, there were numerous places along the road which could give at any time, he said. Regular inspections were taking place to prevent slips. Makarora residents and tourist operators said the road needed to be open for longer at night in the lead-up to the busy season. At this stage it was closed between 6pm and 8am. They also wanted road blocks in Makarora and Haast removed so those driving through could wait at the slip site at 8am for the road to open.
Rocky road: NZTA senior network manager for Otago John Jarvis, left, southern regional director Jim Harlan and performance manager Peter Connors in Makarora after holding a public meeting about the Diana Falls slip. The slip, which happened mid-September, has caused road closures and cost over $2 million to clear.