Milford Sound highway, SH94, more essential services convoys from Tuesday

4 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineFebruary 17, 2020

The first convoy of essential services vehicles and material in and out of Milford Sound, since torrential rain closed the highway two weeks ago, went well on Saturday.

“Twenty-five vehicles were able to get in and/or out of Milford Sound and the highway temporary surface performed well,” says NZ Transport Agency journey manager Peter Brown.

State Highway 94 is officially closed to all traffic bar emergency vehicles after the recent rain that significantly damaged several parts of the highway between Cascade Creek/the Hollyford turnoff and Milford Sound.

“The decision was made on Saturday to cancel the Sunday and Monday convoys given the potential for more slips given the forecast for rain,” says Brown.

“However, convoys of essential services vehicles (see list below for qualifying factors) will resume tomorrow, Tuesday, 18 February.”

Convoys Tuesday and Wednesday will be for essential services vehicles only.

Convoys will run Tuesday and Wednesday, 18 and 19 February, departing from Cascade Creek carpark at 8am with another convoy at 9am and two return trips at 4pm and 5pm. (See details below).

More rain is forecast for Thursday so those convoys could well be cancelled, says Brown. “Many of these new slips along SH94 are in places we have not seen before so we need to be cautious about how they will react with more rain, given the area is so wet already,” he says.

Essential services convoys, subject to weather – Tuesday and Wednesday planed at this stage

Twice a day – in and out:

  • 8am East Gate in

  • 9am Gulliver Gate back

  • 4pm East Gate in

  • 5pm Gulliver Gate back

Drivers will need to be at these two start and end places at these times to be part of the convoy.

Vehicles and drivers who will be able to take part in the essential services convoys will involve people transporting the following items: fuel, food, freight, septic/ rubbish disposal, trades goods.

Also contractors, staff of Milford Sound businesses in vans or coaches, commercial fishing industry and associated trades, and air traffic control personnel.

The aim is to increase access to Milford Sound to include tourists/visitors on buses from Friday, 21 February. (Again, subject to weather and repairs to the road allowing access.)

Buses with a minimum of 10 seats will be able to join the convoy at these times and places. There will be three convoys:

  • 10am East Gate in

  • 11.30am Chasm Gate back

  • 12.30pm East Gate in

  • 1.30pm Chasm Gate back

  • 2.30 pm East Gate in

  • 4pm Chasm Gate back

“The Transport Agency will be working closely with Emergency Management Southland given the State of Emergency remains in place until at least tomorrow when it will be reviewed,” says Brown.

“We thank everyone for their patience while this essential work is underway. We are doing our best to provide a safe route for all road users and restore this important link to Milford.”