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Traffic and travel updates: visit the Journey Planner website(external link) for more information about the latest road closures affecting the South Island following the recent weather events.

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Expect delays and closures on part of SH1 Desert Road

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Part of State Highway 1–Desert Road is to have two full closures and will be down to one lane for almost three months while the deck is replaced on Waihohonu Stream Bridge.

Truck crash on Desert Road

The bridge was damaged by a truck crash in July 2017.

The repair work is expected to start on Thursday 25 January and should be completed in April. During this time road users can expect the bridge to be down to one lane, with some short closures of around 5 minutes. There will be a 30km/h limit in place. 

The full closures are projected to take place on 26 February and 14 March, weather permitting. Each closure is expected be from 7am for around 36 hours. The alternative route is State Highway 46, 47, 4, and 49.

This route is not suitable for vehicles over 44 tonnes, apart from 50MAX which is permitted. High productivity motor vehicles can use the SH3 and SH3A route between Hamilton and Bulls.
Vehicles with over-weight loads or over-dimension loads wider than 3.0 metres will not be able to use the Desert Road section of SH1 for the next few months as it will not be possible to cross the Waihohonu Bridge.

There will also be multiple maintenance work sites on the Desert Road during this period and there are delays possible at other sites.

NZ Transport Agency Waikato Transport System Manager, Karen Boyt, says people using the Desert Road should check before they travel.

“People can expect to experience some delays and should use our website or call us on 0800 4 HIGHWAYS before setting off on their journey.

“The two closures are required to pour the concrete deck. One side will be poured during one closure and the other will be for poured during the second closure.

“We understand the inconvenience this closure and the maintenance work may cause and we’d like to apologise in advance for any disruptions, however this is important work that needs to be completed,” Ms Boyt says.

The key traffic and travel source which provides up-to-date information on weather and road conditions nationwide is www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic(external link). Important information is shared via the Transport Agency’s official Twitter and Facebook accounts listed here(external link)

Drivers can also call 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49) to speak to the call centre team who can provide them with traffic and travel information either before they’re travelling or when they’re on the road.

Details of SH1 Desert Rd work

  • First closure at Waihohonu Bridge 26 February from 7am for around 36 hours, weather permitting.
  • Second closure at Waihohonu Bridge 14 March from 7am for around 36 hours, weather permitting.
  • The road will be down to one lane at Waihohonu Bridge and there will be several other maintenance work sites along the Desert Road during this time so people should expect delays when travelling between Waiouru and Turangi.
  • People should check the website(external link) or phone 0800 4 HIGHWAYS before travelling.
  • The alternative route is State Highway 46, 47, 4, and 49. The detour could add around 40 minutes to a journey. This route is not suitable for vehicles over 44 tonnes, apart from 50MAX which is permitted. High productivity motor vehicles can use the SH3 and SH3A route between Hamilton and Bulls.
  • For more information, download the latest project update(external link)
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