With the country in the grip of a wintry blast and significant snowfalls affecting roads around the country, the NZ Transport Agency is urging motorists to check the very latest conditions on its website before travelling.
The most accurate, up to date information on state highway road conditions can be found at www.highwayinfo.govt.nz(external link). The website lists road conditions, delays, hazards and closures across the state highway network, and is updated in real time by NZTA contractors and engineers on the ground. The website is updated every two minutes and is the best source for the most recent information on highway conditions.
For motorists who aren’t near a computer, the NZTA also operates the Highway Info toll free number, which is 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49).
NZTA Highways Network Operations Manager Dave Bates says heavy snow, wind and ice are affecting roads across most of the South Island and lower North Island.
"Our contractors are working around the clock in very difficult conditions to clear snow, lay down grit and keep drivers safe, but with the severity of the southerly we're experiencing, it's likely that restrictions and closures will remain in place for some time on many roads. Our primary focus is keeping open or re-opening the high importance routes such as SH1 or its alternates, and other highways may take a little longer. It is also likely that some routes might close again if the adverse weather persists.
"We understand the frustration and inconvenience these travel disruptions cause, but our number one concern is ensuring people's safety."
Mr Bates urged those in the worst affected parts of the country to stay put, and said those who do need to travel should adjust their driving to the conditions, check the latest information before setting out, and allow extra time for the journey.
"Over the next few days we expect the conditions to continue to be treacherous and changeable, so it’s important to be prepared for the unexpected by checking road conditions in advance. In some cases the best advice will be not to drive at all. We're urging people to be cautious and look after the safety of their families."
The NZTA reminds motorists to drive to the conditions at all times, use chains where required, and to be prepared for difficult winter conditions on all roads.