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Arthur's Pass highway partially reopens

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 23/01/2017 Sean Martin

A single lane on State Highway 73 between Christchurch and the West Coast has reopened, after it was closed by a slip on Thursday.

One lane on the Lower Otira Gorge will reopen for 10 minute intervals on the hour, every hour between 8am and 7pm.

"This will continue for several days so crews can remove the remaining slip material and make the highway safe for two lanes of traffic again ... People need to factor in extra time for this journey until we have both lanes safely reopened," New Zealand Transport Agency journey manager Lee Wright said.

Contractors were brought in to deal with a massive slip which closed the highway between Arthur's Pass and Jacksons after a storm hit the South Island.

Debris had blocked the road and covered the adjacent railway lines, and around 9,000 cubic metres of material was removed on Sunday.

It's estimated the size of the slip, between Aickens and Jacksons at Deception Point, is a total of 40-50,000 cubic metres.

Power lines were also affected by the slip, and railway crossing warning lights on the West Coast side of SH73 to Greymouth aren't operating.

KiwiRail will be manually controlling these crossings, so Ms Wright says motorists need to slow down and be prepared to stop at all level crossings,.

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