Multiple state highway closures Top of South Island

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Aug 20, 2022 |

Flood damage SH6 Nelson to Blenheim

Multiple state highway closures across the Top of the South Island remain in place this weekend and into next week even as rainfall and river levels abate.

NZTA National Journey Manager Helen Harris said “this is a huge weather event, with an even bigger impact on the state highway and local road network than the storm of July 2021.

Motorists are strongly advised to avoid travel or keep to essential trips only in areas still covered in flood waters and debris around Tākaka, Nelson and Blenheim.

Two routes into Nelson from Blenheim closed 

Significant damage and slips on SH6 between Blenheim and Nelson mean that SH6 will not open for days. The next update will be on Tuesday, 23 August.

The other key route into Nelson from Blenheim, SH63 via Renwick and St Arnaud is also closed due to a washout of the approach to the Branch Bridge.

An update on that route will be available on Tuesday also. There is extensive damage on this route also above the Rainbow turnoff.

The alternative route into Nelson from North Canterbury or the West Coast is via the Lewis Pass, SH7, and Murchison.

 Slips and localised flooding are an ongoing risk given the soaked state of the hills and land.

 State highway situation as at midday Saturday

 Golden Bay/ Mohua

SH60 is currently closed Onekaka to Tākaka due to multiple slips. Between Haldane Road and Rangihaeata Road there is one large drop-out, but Waka Kotahi will be opening this section of road to single lane with traffic lights to light vehicles only later on Saturday after geotechnical advice was received. Transport operators have been kept informed. Upper Tākaka to Tākaka has now reopened as of midday Saturday.

 Tākaka Hill is open albeit with slips and Stop/Go traffic management back to Riwaka and Motueka.


SH6 from Nelson to Renwick near Blenheim is remaining closed.

 SH6 Rocks Road Nelson Central from Haven Road to the Tahunanui intersection will remain closed and is unlikely to open Saturday. Geotechnical assessments are underway given the movement of retaining walls.

The detour route is via Haven Rd, Halifax St, Rutherford St and Waimea Rd. This route is available for Heavy Commercial Vehicles (HCV). There are no alternative routes through the city due to height and weight restrictions. All vehicles must comply with speed restrictions.

 Route south of Nelson on SH6 are open but caution is required as flood waters abate from Richmond to Wakefield.

 SH63 St Arnaud to Renwick is closed due to a washout at the Branch Bridge. (See note above)

 Marlborough Sounds

The damage to the Marlborough Sounds roads may exceed the damage from last year’s July 2021 storm with all roads in the Sounds likely to remain closed for some time. 

 Kenepuru and Pelorus road networks have sustained significant damage. Marlborough District declared a State of Emergency on Friday night.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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