Road set to open tomorrow

The access road to Franz Josef Glacier is due to reopen tomorrow, weather permitting, two months after a devastating storm washed out the road, leaving the glacier inaccessible.

However, the Fox Glacier access road - which is not only storm damaged but has also been destroyed by the largest active slip in the country - remains closed.

The West Coast Conservation Board members visited both glacier valleys on Thursday.

Contractors have built an entirely new causeway at Franz Josef.

Board chairman Keith Morfett said the Department of Conservation was making a huge effort there.

''It's contractor heaven - diggers, machinery. We were impressed.''

However, Fox Glacier was ''another story''.

''It's going to be an incredibly difficult challenge to reinstate the road. Doc is awaiting a technical report. But there's the fastest-moving slip in New Zealand. There are boulders the size of houses. It's an incredible challenge,'' Dr Morfett said. 

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