Milford Road has been blocked by a slip that sent rocks -
some the size of small cars - tumbling down a hill. Photo
Debris and rocks as large as small cars have blocked the
Milford Rd following a major landslide overnight Friday at an
section known as "Red Slip".
The road was closed by the New Zealand Transport Agency at
4pm yesterday due to extreme weather and the slip occurred
within the boundary of the closed section, estimated to be
2km on the Milford side of Falls Creek.
The NZTA believed there had not been a slip in that area for
NZTA Southland area manager Peter Robinson said tourism
operators were warned yesterday the road would be closed and
"most people were evacuated from Milford" before its closure,
as the road is the only land-based entry and exit to the
popular tourist area.
Passengers on an overnight Real Journeys cruise were expected
to be docking in Milford today, and Mr Robinson said it was
likely the company would be flying them out.
"Milford Airport is still operational," he said.
A spokesman from Southern Discoveries confirmed their
customers would be flown in and out.
Mr Robinson said geotechnical experts were today assessing
the risk of another landslide from unstable rocks above the
road. Once any risks had been cleared work would begin on
clearing the debris blocking the road.
Contractors with rock breaking equipment are on standby and
could arrive from Christchurch, pending the outcome of the
It is thought some of the large rocks have damaged the road
beneath, and he said the road would be closed "definitely
[for] a few days".
"Until we have had the assessment we don't know how long it's
going to take [to clear]."