Ice and snow puts South Island drivers on alert


South Island drivers, in the alpine areas and the lower half of the island should be on the lookout for black ice and slippery conditions as a cold front sweeps up the country today, says the NZ Transport Agency’s Network Operations Manager Tresca Forrester.

Snow and ice closed a number of routes overnight and into this morning.

As at 11am, all South Island highways were open. SH7, was closed this morning due to a late freeze of ice on the Lewis Pass, between Hanmer Springs and Springs Junction. It reopened at 10.55am. with an update at 11am. link)

  • Arthur’s Pass, SH73, is open for vehicles with chains and no-towing vehicles.

  • The Lindis Pass, Omarama to Tarras and Cromwell closed overnight but opened after 7am.

  • The Milford Road, SH94, was closed overnight but reopened at 10am.

  • SH93 Clinton to Mataura reopened at 7.30am after an overnight closure.

The Crown Range Road between Wanaka and Queenstown was closed and remained closed at 10am today, updates on Queenstown Lakes District’s Facebook page(external link)

Slow down, be ready for black ice in shaded places

“In many areas of Southland, Otago and Canterbury drivers are urged to take care and drive to the winter conditions,” says Ms Forrester. “Slow down, watch for black ice morning and night on bridges, under trees and areas of highway which have been shaded. Grit will be spread on many highways which also requires drivers to slow down.”

 Snow and ice warnings on all these highways marked in orange as at 10 am today: link)

Snow and ice warning map South Island

Arthur's Pass today

Arthur's Pass today

Simple rules for safe winter travelling:

  • allow extra time

  • ensure your vehicle is safe for winter driving(external link)

  • 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.

  • learn about winter driving, including how to get your vehicle ready and how to put on snow chains, at link)

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