Snow and ice over the South Island – stay home if you can

The NZ Transport Agency is advising all South Island road travellers to check their Traffic and Travel website and the map showing area warnings and highway closures for highway updates before heading off this morning. “If you are able to, postpone your journey,” says Lee Wright, Transport Agency Journey Manager. “In many places snow is lying on top of ice making driving extremely dangerous.”

State Highway 1 into Dunedin, the Northern Motorway, Waitati to Pine Hill, is closed with a layer of snow over ice.
Highways are being reassessed throughout the day and will be updated around 11 am.

Passes
The alpine passes to the West Coast were both closed near midnight last night at Porters Pass (SH73) and through the Lewis Pass (SH7), Hanmer Springs turnoff to Springs Junction.

The Haast Pass (SH6) was closed after 6 pm last night and remains closed this morning.

The Lindis Pass (SH8) Omarama to Tarras is closed.
Burkes Pass, Fairlie to Tekapo (SH8) is open but chains are essential and no towing vehicles.

Southland picture
The Transport Agency’s Maintenance Contract Manager in Southland Josh Webb says the highway crews snow-ploughed through the night on SH6 Jollies Hill (Five Rivers to Garston highway) and SH94 Gorge Hill (between Mossburn and Te Anau), where it has not stopped snowing since yesterday as Southland whited out overnight.

“Crews have concentrated on keeping State Highway 1 connecting Invercargill north open and we closed SH93 Mataura to Clinton around midnight with a manned checkpoint.”

Kaikoura – inland road closed due to ice and snow
The inland road into Kaikoura via Waiau was closed earlier today due to snow and ice. People can get to Kaikoura via State Highway 1, via Cheviot and the Hundalees thismorning. (Normally this route is closed Tuesday to Thursday for road works.)

MetService - Road Snowfall Warnings
Simple rules for safe winter travelling

•allow 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.