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Highways update, winter weather hits South Island

11 July 2017 | SOUTHERN REGION

Highways update, winter weather hits South Island

The South Island is experiencing cold, freezing weather, snow, sleety showers and ice today. Driving is treacherous in many places and drivers need to slow down on both icy roads and gritted roads.

“Please think carefully on whether you need to get in your car today and if you do, drive to the conditions – slowly, with chains for the alpine passes,” says NZ Transport Agency Journey Manager Lee Wright.

Many roads in Otago are affected by ice, with freezing fog. In Southland, there are numerous road area warnings of ice and black ice.

• For full background tips on winter driving – read our media release from yesterday. here.

Road snowfall warnings: please check for updates on the MetService snow updates page.

Alpine passes may all be affected by snow from midday today, mainly on the higher parts of the road – Arthur’s Pass and Porter’s Pass (SH73), Lewis Pass (SH7), Lindis Pass (SH8), Haast Pass (SH6), the Milford Road (SH94) and the Dunedin to Waitati Highway (SH1).

More snow may fall at Porter’s Pass (SH73) from Tuesday evening through toThursday – 15-20 cm or more near the summit.

State Highways: warnings & closures

Drivers are advised to take care on a number of highways. For an updated list of areas where Caution warnings are in place see this web site.

As of this morning, 10 am, caution due to ice and black ice is required on:

• SH6 Arrow Junction to Kingston - ice

• SH6A Frankton to Queenstown - ice

• SH80 Aoraki Mount Cook National Park to Ben Ohau - snow and ice

• SH82 Kurow to Waimate - ice

• SH6 Ross to Haast Pass - ice

• SH8 Clarksville To Raes Junction - ice

• SH90 Raes Junction to Mcnab - ice

• SH1 Palmerston to Balclutha - ice

• SH87 Kyeburn to Mosgiel – black ice

• SH85 Palmerston to Kyeburn - black ice

• SH94 Te Anau to Milford - this road was closed overnight due to ice but has since reopened with care required. No towing vehicles.

Lewis Pass/ Alternate Route Picton to Christchurch change in highway management

“Drivers using the alternate Picton to Christchurch route via St Arnaud and the Lewis Pass/ Murchison will need to allow extra time and patience. A change has been made to the way the Lewis Pass, State Highway 7, will be managed over the winter months. It will either be ‘open’ or ‘closed’ rather than having the usual restrictions of ‘chains essential’ and ‘no towing’. Extra Police presence will be on the route over the winter months,” says Ms Wright.

How to stay up to date:

• Find safe winter driving tips at www.nzta.govt.nz/winterjourneys

• The key traffic and travel source which provides up-to-date information on weather and road conditions is www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic

• Important information is also shared via the Transport Agency’s official Twitter and Facebook accounts listed here https://www.nzta.govt.nz/contact-us/connect-with-us/

• If you live in Queenstown Lakes District, or travel to and from Queenstown, sign up for QLDC’s winter road reports here.

• Drivers can also call 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49) to speak to the call centre team who can provide them with traffic and travel information either before they’re travelling or when they’re on the road, safely parked off the highway.

• MetService road snowfall warnings here.

• Extended weather forecast for all areas of New Zealand this week here.

• MetService severe weather warnings here.

Simple guidelines for safe winter travelling

•do you need to travel today? If you do, think about the best route to take and build in extra time.

•ensure your vehicle is safe for winter driving

•drive to the road and weather conditions

•slow down and be prepared for unexpected hazards

•allow greater following distance between you and the vehicle ahead

•make sure your cell phone is well charged, check car charger also

•have blankets, snacks, bottles of water ready in case of emergency or a breakdown.


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