It could be April next year before a permanent solution is found for a slip blocking the only route between the West Coast and Central Otago.
State Highway 6 has been closed for more than half of the past two months after the slip blocked the road at Diana Falls in the Haast Pass.
The Transport Agency has so far spent more than $2 million clearing the slip, but may spend 10 times that on a long-term fix.
Highways operations manager Peter Conners says concrete rock shelters and even a viaduct are being considered.
Peter Conners says the road is one of the most important tourism links in the country and the present detour is more than 1000km.
The Transport Agency is opening the road between 8am to 5pm daily, but that can change at a moment's notice if the slip becomes unstable.