Opening hours through Haast Pass extended

The Haast Pass from Makarora to Haast will be opened for longer hours during the day, starting from today.

The NZ Transport Agency will open the road an hour earlier, at 8am, at the Diana Falls slip site, and close as usual at 5pm

Senior network manager Mark Pinner says the longer opening is possible as spring is approaching and there are more daylight hours.

Mark says traffic will be released at the remote road blocks at Haast township and Makarora at 7.30am.

The highway will be closed each day at 4pm at Haast and 4.30pm at Makarora.

Mark said the extra daylight at the end of the day would be used during the next couple of weeks to complete work on the slip face and prepare the highway for widening and realignment.

The agency wants to re-open the popular route to two lanes in time for the start of the busy summer tourist season.

Opening hours will be reviewed again early next month and at the start of daylight saving, in October.

The road will remain closed at night from 5pm to 8am until the slip protection works are completed, which will hopefully be by the end of September.

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(CAPTION: Road workers at the Diana Falls site install on of three protection fences. PHOTO: NZTA)