Key alpine highways South Island/Te Wai Pounamu could remain closed into the afternoon, South Canterbury highway closed also


The Porters Pass/Arthur’s Pass SH73 route linking Canterbury and the West Coast and the Lewis Pass route, SH7, will be reviewed at lunchtime today, says Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.

However, both routes may remain closed into the afternoon given the need to tow a large caravan out of the way on Porters Pass to re-establish two lanes of traffic.

“Both routes have been closed due to snow and ice since yesterday (Sunday),” says Tresca Forrester, Journey Manager for Waka Kotahi.

“Crews are working hard to clear the areas most affected by snow like Porters Pass and allow people to get out of Arthur’s Pass village and other spots along the route.”

There will be ice on highways in coming days also says Ms Forrester so people need to drive prepared on shaded places and bridge decks. (See advice below)

New closure this morning – Lake Pukaki to Burkes Pass

SH8 between Lake Pukaki past Lake Tekapo to Burkes Pass closed again this morning

Check status of road closure(external link)

North of Christchurch

SH1 north of Christchurch is fully open and restored to two lanes after jack-knifed trucks on the Hundalees caused significant delays yesterday afternoon into the evening for other truck drivers and many people in cars.

Given the route was the sole remaining highway north of Christchurch still open in the snow, it was officially kept open on Sunday despite the considerable hold-ups, she says.

“We will be having a full debrief on how this highway was managed given that many people queued in the cold, hopeful of getting through.” The highway was fully cleared late last night.

Dunedin highway open again

SH1 north of Dunedin/Pine Hill to Waitati is now open after an earlier closure this morning. People need to drive to the winter driving conditions, be ready for short delays and icy patches with crews will be grading and gritting as required.

Check the status of the road(external link)

The same advice applies for a number of other highways like SH87 Outram to Kyeburn inland Otago.

Check the status of the road(external link)

State highway updates(external link) (please check this map before heading out and travel prepared with chains, warm clothing, food and water) 

Winter driving advice

What should I do on the road?

  • Drive slower than you normally would – it only takes a split second to lose control in wet or icy conditions.
  • Avoid sudden braking or turning movements that could cause you to skid. 
  • Accelerate smoothly and brake gently.
  • Use your highest gear when travelling uphill and your lowest downhill.
  • For vehicles without anti-skid braking systems, to avoid skidding or sliding pump the brake pedal in short rapid bursts rather than pressing long and hard.
  • Drive at a safe travelling distance because it takes longer to stop on slippery roads. In winter, especially in poor weather, double the two-second rule and leave a safe distance between you and the car you’re following.
  •  When travelling in fog, rain or snow, drive with your lights dipped for increased safety.

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