Milford Road, SH94 – extreme rainfall continues and carries over onto Southland and Otago highways

3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineFebruary 4, 2020

The NZ Transport Agency says the Milford Road, State Highway 94, will be closed at least into the weekend and potentially into next week given the damage from torrential rain and ongoing moving slips in the past 48 hours.

“Rain has been falling at 40mm an hour, with up to a metre by end of today,” says NZTA journey manager Peter Brown.

“In these circumstances, we need to ensure our crews are safe, with 1000 cubic metres of material falling at Lake Gunn late yesterday (the Hollyford Road) and whole hillsides filling fast with rain and ongoing slips.

“We are getting a bridge inspection team onto State Highway 94 today and know that some abutments to these bridges may need repairs before this highway can be safely opened. The wider SH94 repair programme, largely on the Te Anau (eastern) side of the highway, will not be completed for several days, potentially into next week.”

Brown says the Milford Alliance team and Downer contractors from Southland and Otago have plenty of plant and resource ready to go, but crew safety is a priority at this stage until the weather lifts.

Outside Fiordland – Otago and Southland hard hit by rain

Elsewhere in Otago and Southland, many highways have surface water or more serious flooding issues today from nearby rivers and creeks. Several are now closed or about to be closed.

For regular daily updates on these, please ensure you are on the Christchurch Transport Operations Centre‘s email list – email and request to get the South Island wide advisories.

Check the web maps for closures and delay points. If you can avoid travelling on these highways today, please do so, says Brown.

Southland:, also



The road, SH94, was closed yesterday between Cascade Creek and West Gate (the Chasm).  Southland Civil Defence declared a state of emergency for the Fiordland community board area yesterday afternoon.

Evacuations of people from Milford Sound is being managed by Southland Civil Defence Emergency Management, making the most of any breaks in cloud to get people out via choppers today.

Civil Defence updates here: 

NZ Transport Agency Milford Road page here:  (Southland roads)

Photos by Dylan O’Neill.