Avalanche risk keeps road closed

Tuesday 25 June 2013

The Inland Road, between Waiau and State Highway 1 has been closed to all traffic following a 15 tonne avalanche in the area yesterday.

Downer Ltd, the Hurunui District Council’s roading contractor, has engaged a world renowned avalanche expert to assess the situation and make recommendations as to any remedial options. The current assessment, based on photos and other details has concluded an extreme risk in the 4 kilometers from Lulu’s Creek to the Whale Back Ridge.

Up until this morning, limited travel had been allowed on the road for local residents only but this has now been stopped because of the risk. The Rural Support Network phone tree system has been activated as well some door knocking to some properties that are now isolated by the road closure.

A helicopter will be used this afternoon to get more detailed information on the risks and whether options such as using explosives may be able to be used to shift the threat.

In the meantime the open-graders have been pulled back from working in and around the treacherous 4 kilometer stretch but the enclosed snow ploughs are continuing to clear the 2 metre buildup of snow on the road.