A 59-year-old Canterbury man has died after a boulder rolled onto State Highway 6 in the Tasman region this afternoon.
Emergency services were called to the scene around 800 metres north of O'Sullivans Bridge, near Murchison, at around 1.50pm, police said.
"A single boulder rolling onto the highway, near the intersection of SH6 and SH65, 800 metres north of O’Sullivans bridge, is believed to have collided with a car heading towards Murchison," The NZ Transport Agency said in a statement.
State Highway 6 will remain closed overnight and all day tomorrow, according to NZTA.
Transport Agency System Manager Andrew James says abseilers and a geotechnical team will be on the site from tomorrow morning. Rock removal will be undertaken on the slopes above the highway tomorrow.
“More rain is forecast for tonight so we will need to work on the slopes tomorrow. The aim will be to open the highway by 5pm, but motorists are advised to check the NZTA website for the latest updates,” says Mr James.
Given tomorrow is Canterbury Anniversary Day, SH1 north of Christchurch and SH6 between Blenheim and Nelson will be much busier than usual, so drivers are asked to take care and be patient.
NZTA says there is no simple detour in this area so drivers may need to delay their journeys.
The agency advises:
• If travelling to or from Nelson, people should take SH6 (via Blenheim/ Renwick) and SH1.
• From Westport, the route to take is via Inangahua, Reefton and the Lewis Pass SH7 then SH1 to get to Nelson/ Tasman.
• From Greymouth, take Reefton SH7, then Lewis Pass and SH1.