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South Island highways - Snow, wind, ice - Drive prepared

Lower temperatures today and over the weekend mean that South Island drivers need to be aware of ice and black ice, particularly on bridge decks and shaded areas of the highway last to catch the sun.

Slow down accordingly, says Tresca Forrester, NZ Transport Agency Journey Manager. Crews will be gritting and applying de-icing compound to keep routes safely open as much as possible, however some highways with heavy snow may close if there is a risk of drivers getting stuck, particularly overnight.

Stay up to date and be prepared for the conditions. Latest updates and warnings here:


Lewis Pass, SH7: If snow begins falling heavily on the Lewis Pass later today, the highway may close overnight. Please check for updates on the Canterbury link before you set off. https://www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/regions/11

Arthur’s Pass, SH73, to Otira: Chains essential and closed to towing vehicles as of 2 pm today with snow falling.


Kaikōura coast: Strong winds have been forecast by MetService for the Kaikōura coastline later today. Drivers of high-sided vehicles and motorcyclists need to take care.

Fairlie to Twizel, SH8: Road users should expect snow and ice and drive to the winter conditions.

• View the web camera here: https://www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic-and-travel-information/traffic-cameras/canterbury/735

Aoraki Mt Cook Highway, SH80: Expect snow and ice, take extra care.

West Coast/ Buller

North of Westport south to Bruce Bay, SH6: Due to high winds and a king tide late tonight, large swells are expected to hit the West Coast of the South Island from this evening. The coastal highway SH 6 (Bruce Bay, 14 Mile, 17 Mile and Fox River) and SH 67, north of Westport are vulnerable to big swells which may wash debris onto the highway.

These areas are currently being patrolled by contractors. Road users should take extra care if travelling from this evening.


Milton to Raes Junction, SH8 and Central Otago highways: Be ready for black ice on bridge decks and shaded places particularly as the sun fades in the afternoon and in the mornings.


Milford Road, State Highway 94: The Milford Road between Milford Sound

Piopiotahi and Te Anau remained closed today due to heavy snow. It will remain closed overnight and Saturday.

Sunday could have patchy snow and closures also. People should expect delays and probable closures through till early next week, says Milford Road Alliance Manager Kevin Thompson.

• Milford Sound Piopiotahi highway link here: https://www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/roadclosures/266688

• NZ Transport Agency South Island page for updates: https://www.facebook.com/nztasouthisland/

• Traffic travel pages NZTA for highway updates: https://www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic

• Traffic cameras also give people an idea what to expect: https://www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic-and-travel-information/traffic-cameras/

• MetService severe weather warnings: https://www.metservice.com/warnings/severe-weather-warnings

• For regular emailed updates on South Island highway closures please email the Christchurch Transport Operations Centre tfc@tfc.govt.nz to get on their weekday list.

Plan ahead for a safe, enjoyable journey. Keep up to date with:

• Traffic updates: nzta.govt.nz/traffic

• Facebook: facebook.com/NZTAsouthisland

• Twitter Top of the South: twitter.com/NZTATotS

• Twitter Canterbury/West Coast: twitter.com/NZTA/CWC

• Twitter Otago/Southland: twitter.com/NZTAOS

• Journey planner: journeys.nzta.govt.nz

• Phone: 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49)

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