Rain, floods and a major bridge washout on the West Coast

Heavy run is normal on the West Coast, but they are currently getting more than usual, with floods road closures from Makarora (just north of Lake Wanaka leading over the Haast pass) to Hokitika.

And there has been a major bridge collapse on the Waiho river just south of Franz Josef township – this is the only road  between there and Fox Glacier.

Civil Defence West Coast


1 News:  Astonishing footage captures bridge collapse in Franz Josef as wild weather batters West Coast

The river doesn’t look particularly high, but has been flowing very strongly with boulders and ice chunks likely to have damaged the supports.

Might need to go a bit faster than 30 to get across that gap.

It could take quite a bit to get that river crossing and therefore the only highway re-opened.

Image may contain: sky

There is currently one road closure, SH6 Franz Josef to Fox Glacier with two slips at Omoeroa and significant surface flooding south of Whataroa at Lake Wahapo. Please watch the NZTA Website for any developments at:

Latest Update:  26 March 2019 8:42 pm

There is a raised risk to life and injury for local residents and further risk to property, and accordingly the Mayor Bruce Smith has declared a State of Emergency for the Westland District.

The Waiho Bridge has been completely destroyed. NZTA will be assessing how to reinstate the Highway following this disastrous event. The ECC will be assessing the need for a controlled evacuation on the South Side of the Waiho River.