Skip to content

Access keys for

  • h Home
  • m Menu
  • 0 Show list of access keys
  • 2 Skip to content
  • 3 Skip to top

Information for freight operators on South Island routes

Current information as of 22 November 2016

Following the magnitude 7.8 earthquake on 14 November 2016, State Highway 1 at Kaikoura has been closed to all traffic due to substantial slips and road damage.

The main route between Christchurch and Picton is now via state highways 7 ,65, 6 and 63. Given the damage to State Highway 1 this is likely to remain the main route for several months at least. Here is some general information for commercial drivers:

  • Drivers should expect this journey to take around 7.5 hours and should take the extra travel time into consideration and ensure they take adequate rest breaks.
  • The Christchurch to Picton journey will take at least 3 hours longer so drivers need to ensure they are well rested before they start, take plenty of breaks and allow for the additional time when planning their schedule.
  • Plan your rest stops.  The number of places available for a commercial vehicle to safely stop on this route are far less. Opportunities to stop for a rest break or to check your load should be taken when available.
  • Fuel, food and toilets are available along this route at Culverden, Springs Junction, Murchison and St Arnaud.
  • The road will have fewer passing lanes than SH1, so drivers are asked to be patient and expect to be held up by slower moving traffic. 
  • Wherever possible drivers are asked to pull over and allow faster moving vehicles adequate time to pass where this can be done safely.
  • The alternate route is now getting far more heavy vehicles than usual, which may result in adverse road wear, in turn affecting driving conditions. Drivers should also ensure they carefully monitor wear and tear on vehicles by conducting effective walk-around inspections.   
  • Drivers need to abide by their work-time and logbook requirements when using the alternate route.
  • Police have advised that they will increase the number of patrols along this route to ensure safety.

Route information for South Island journeys [PDF, 281 KB]

High productivity motor vehicles (HPMVs)

  • There are no specific speed restrictions for HPMVs along this route. However drivers should make sure they observe all the posted signage.
  • All HPMVs including 50MAX that were permitted for State Highway 1 are able to use the alternative route.
  • HPMVs can travel on:
    • SH7 to Springs Junction
    • SH65 to Murchison
    • SH6 to turn off at Kawatiri
    • SH63 to Renwick
    • SH6  to junction of SH62
    • SH62 Rapaura Road
    • Rejoin SH1 to Picton at Spring Creek.
  • HPMVs including 50MAX are not to use the shortcut of Anglesea Street/Boyce Street, Renwick to get between SH63 and SH6.
  • HPMVs including 50MAX are not to travel via SH6 through Woodbourne and into Blenheim to join SH1.
  • If you have any specific queries regarding HPMV route access, please contact the Permitting Team on 0800 699 000 or email

Overweight and overdimension vehicles

  • We are working through the implications of overweight and overdimension vehicles using this route and more information will be available soon.

More information

For commercial operators and drivers wanting traffic updates via text message, please email to be added to the distribution list. They will remain on the distribution list until the end of summer (Feb 2017).

With a large number of aftershocks continuing to affect the area, drivers should ensure they have the latest information, available from our website, email or call 0800 44 44 49 – 0800 4 highways.