Icy roads overnight Thursday to Friday and Saturday mornings


With snow moving off the South Island, icy and freezing conditions remain in many areas.

Drivers need to take special care tonight and the next two mornings, says Lee Wright, NZ Transport Agency Journey Manager.

All areas which have had snow will be likely to have ice in the mornings in particular. As well as the passes – Lewis, Lindis, Burkes, Arthur’s Pass, hilly areas like Banks Peninsula will also be prone to ice and in Otago, SH85 Becks to Kyeburn and Palmerston.

Drivers need to slow down on gritted roads, says Ms Wright.

Porters Pass remains closed

State Highway 73 between the West Coast and Canterbury remained closed all day today due to constantly accumulating ice and snow on Porters Pass, the Canterbury side. This highway will be reassessed at 10 am Friday morning(external link).

Lewis Pass, SH7, route between Canterbury and West Coast

The Lewis Pass, SH7, is the only route open between Canterbury and the West Coast today. Crews are working hard to keep it open and safe. This route is part of the new Alternate Highway Picton to Christchurch so has a large number of heavy vehicles and trucks on it.


Kaikoura is accessed currently to 6 pm tonight through SH1 to the south. The inland road via Waiau remained closed all day and will be reassessed at 7 am Friday. SH1 will reopen to Kaikoura at 7 am Friday as it normally does Friday to Monday.

Key tips to keep you safe in icy conditions:

  • Go slow on ice or snow.
  • Allow for much greater braking distances, avoid braking suddenly.
  • Look out for shaded areas caused by shelter belts/ tall trees where the roads freeze sooner and ice may not thaw during the day.
  • Bridges could also stay slippery longer than other road surfaces.
  • Frost is more severe at daybreak, so be prepared for this after it becomes light. While it may not be icy at 6am, it could be an hour or two later.
  • Allow greater following distances.
  • Motorists still need to be very careful, even if roads are covered with grit, which offers a 40 per cent improvement in skid resistance.
  • Is your journey really necessary? Observe road warnings and allow extra time for your journey.
  • Black ice, sometimes called clear ice, refers to a thin coating of glazed ice(external link) on a surface. The typically low levels of noticeable ice pellets, snow, or sleet surrounding black ice means that areas of the ice are often practically invisible to drivers.

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