Te Anau · 17 Sep 2020

Te Anau to Milford Sound Piopiotahi Highway Has First Taste Of Real Winter Weather

News Desk

News Desk

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Southland’s Milford Sound Piopiotahi highway, SH94, had its third day of full closure today (Wednesday) with snow blanketing the area and the Homer Tunnel portals. The avalanche risk has also been assessed as high, says Kevin Thompson, Milford Road Alliance Manager for Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.

“We have had a pretty mild winter to date but this week winter conditions arrived for real,” says Mr Thompson. “We have had some large avalanches in recent days as we forecasted.

The Homer Tunnel’s west portal earlier today:

“As soon as we get a safe weather window, we will use helicopters to reduce the avalanche risk with managed explosions in strategic spots to remove large volumes of snow above the road.”

East portal Homer Tunnel. Photo: NZTA

Mr Thompson says the current storm system is likely to run to the weekend, however if the road can be safely reopened for parts or all of this time it will be.

Please check this link for updates: https://www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/roadclosures/313652

An escorted convoy of vehicles and people stuck in Milford Sound Piopiotahi on Monday were managed through the area to get back to Te Anau Tuesday afternoon during a short, safer time period.

West Portal 1 Photo: NZTA

“We are keen to reopen at the earliest safe opportunity, both for our crews and for all road users and visitors to Milford Sound Piopiotahi,” says Mr Thompson.