Waiho Bridge collapse costing region $1m a day - Westland Mayor

The Waiho Bridge collapsed under a torrent of water during a once-in-20-year storm.

Six days on the Westland region is feeling crippled by the loss of a crucial piece of infrastructure.

The Westland Mayor says the washout of the Waiho Bridge is costing the town of Franz Josef $1million a day - and repairs are going to take longer than first estimated.

"It's the key, it's the main road, there's no way round it," Bruce Smith says.

"It is the only bridge that you have to go over if you're heading south or north."

The New Zealand Transport Agency has pushed the timeframe for replacing the bridge out, saying it will now take between 14 and 17 days rather than 10.

It's not good news for businesses all along the Coast, who say they're losing out as tourists avoid the area.

One Hokitika café has been sending staff home early because there just hasn't been enough customers through.

"There's a few tourists floating around but nowhere near as many as there should be at this time of year," says cafe worker Shannon Tozer.

The usually bustling main street of Hokitika was devoid of shoppers on Sunday.

"Just right at the edge of the peak of our season so we need to do everything we can to support our operators," Smith says.

And with another storm front set move up the region tonight - bringing with it more heavy rain - the Westland region's woes may be far from over.