The Diana Falls slip. Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.
The Diana Falls slip in the Haast Pass has cost the New
Zealand Transport Agency about $1.5 million since it happened
six weeks ago.
The slip came down on State Highway 6 between Haast and
Makarora overnight on September 10 and has since caused
ongoing disruptions for motorists travelling the major
The road is closed every night from 6pm to 8am, and
occasionally during daytime hours, particularly in rainy
conditions when the slip becomes unstable, or when fog
disrupts clearing work.
NZTA senior network manager Mark Pinner said much of the $1.5
million spent on the slip was on the day-to-day operation of
the road crew and machines to remove the 50,000 tonnes of
rock and debris which had fallen on to the road to date,
along with manning two road blocks, communications and having
three abseilers on the edge of the slip to spot any movement.
''The amount also includes about $220,000 spent on hiring
helicopters for the inspection and sluicing of the slip site
during the last six weeks,'' Mr Pinner said.
''At one point, there were three helicopters working at the
site, providing a continual sluicing operation.''
It was too early to predict the long-term cost of the slip,
''It will depend on the work needed to stabilise the slip
face and on the long-term options to make the road safe and
remove the night-time closures.''
NZTA West Coast regional performance manager Pete Connors
said last week it was likely to be April or May next year
before the slip settled and the road was open all the time,
allowing NZTA to implement long-term solutions such as debris
During a series of meetings with affected communities on
either side of the slip last week, Mr Connors said the agency
had ''no budgetary constraints'' in fixing the slip.