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Central North Island state highway closures due to snowfall

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Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency advises State Highway 1 Desert Road is closed between Turangi and Waiouru due to heavy snowfall.

UPDATE: State Highways 46, 47 and 49 are now open. State Highway 1 remains closed between Rangipo and Waiouru. There is a detour in place for southbound traffic via State Highway 46, State Highway 47, State Highway 4 and State Highway 49, before rejoining State Highway 1 at Waiouru. Northbound traffic use the same route in reverse. Motorists can keep up to date with State Highway conditions and view webcams by checking our interactive Traffic Info Map: journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/northisland(external link)


A further update will be provided around midday.

Waka Kotahi Waikato System Manager Cara Lauder says State Highways 46, 47 are also closed due to snowfall and are also expected to remain closed for some time. State Highway 49 is open to local traffic only and the Taihape-Napier Road also remains closed, with an update expected by 11am.

“Please delay unnecessary travel or consider using State Highway 4 and State Highway 41, via Whanganui. Depending on your destination, this may add a considerable amount of time to your journey.

“Plan ahead and allow extra time for your journeys and drive to the road and weather conditions. Maintain a greater following distance between your vehicle and the one in front, and to slow down and be prepared for unexpected hazards.”

Waka Kotahi thanks motorists for their patience.

Winter driving tips

  • Check weather and travel conditions on highways before you start your trip and on breaks throughout your journey – use our Journey planner website or call 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49).
    Journey planner website(external link)
  • Ensure your car is safe and equipped: spare tyre, warrant of fitness up-to-date, lights, brakes and wind-wipers all working, clean windscreen inside and out, check tyre treads to ensure good grip.
  • If you are travelling long distances, share the driving and have regular breaks.
  • Wear your seat belt throughout the journey and check your passengers have theirs clicked in too.
  • Driving on roads that are exposed to snow and ice can be treacherous, so slow down and drive to the conditions, not the allowable/legal speed limit. Increase the following distance between you and the vehicle ahead.
  • Be prepared when travelling in case of delays on the road, particularly in alpine conditions. Make sure you have warm clothes/food/water/charged mobile phone. In an emergency, phone 111. Bear in mind some parts of the highway have no cell coverage.
  • Learn about winter driving, including how to get your vehicle ready and if you are driving in an area where chains may be needed, practise putting them on before you go so you are not caught out.

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

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