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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

People who drive between Cromwell and Queenstown should factor in some half-hour long, late morning delays at the Nevis Bluff starting Thursday this week.

Abseilers on the Nevis Bluff, above the Kawarau River, preparing for rock blasting in past spring seasons.

The NZ Transport Agency’s Aspiring Highways team is advising people to expect a delay of half an hour on Thursday, 26 September, as well as Tuesday and Thursday next week (1 and 3 October), between 11 am and 11.30 am.

People travelling to Queenstown Airport past the bluff may need to leave early to avoid the delay.

The delays are necessary to ensure the highway is safe while unstable rock is being blasted off.

Rock stabilisation and inspection work started this week, and is expected to be completed in early December.

The work is part of on-going safety and monitoring of the Nevis Bluff, involving abseil inspection, rock scaling and blasting to remove loose debris and unstable rock, following changes from the effects of freezing winter weather.

Mark Stewart, Transport Agency Maintenance Contract Manager, says that the blasting of unstable rock above SH6 is vital to ensure the on-going safety of road users. “The difficult nature of working above the road on the bluff means that these longer traffic delays are necessary,” he says.

Subject to weather conditions, there will be an extended traffic delay of half an hour between 11am and 11.30am on Thursday 26 September, Tuesday 1 October and Thursday 3 October.

People travelling to Queenstown Airport, or with appointments, should aim to get through the Nevis Bluff before 11am on these days, Mr Stewart says. “The Crown Range, via Wanaka, is the alternative route into Queenstown.”

Outside the extended blast delay, safety work at the bluff will continue between 8am and 5pm Monday to Friday and people are advised to build in extra time of around 10 minutes to their journey.

The Nevis Bluff is 25 minutes from Cromwell, 35 minutes from Queenstown.

The Transport Agency thanks everyone for their patience and for taking care while this important safety work is completed.

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