Road restrictions are put in place for the safety of road user.
The Transport Agency recommends you carry chains when travelling alpine passes and the central north island from June to September. If you see a 'Chains essential' sign, this means you have to put them on.
The following video shows how to fit snow chains:
Please note: The Transport Agency is preparing for winter by increasing resources and monitoring on the alternate Picton to Christchurch route that crosses the Southern Alps at Lewis Pass. These measures aim to safeguard the route during severe winter weather, and to minimise the number and length of closures due to ice or snow. Given this increased resource, and the amount and variety of vehicles using the alternate Picton to Christchurch route this winter, the previous restriction of “chains essential” and “no towing vehicles” will not be an option this winter on the Lewis pass. So the road will be either open or closed. Crews will be working the route 24/7 over the winter months and will do their best to keep any closures as short as they can. More vehicles and trucks on the road also mean that the road will be less prone to icing in general.
Many vehicles using the route, for example tour buses, may not be equipped to use chains. Stationing road crews along the route will allow any section of the route to be cleared and re-opened as efficiently as possible.
(These restrictions – no towing vehicles and chains required - remain an option for SH73 at Arthur’s Pass and Porter’s Pass.)
Snow socks are able to be used but with a warning – they are not chains and are suitable for short distances only and a travelling speed of 30km/h.