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More southern highways reopen as wintry blast slowly eases

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Several inland Otago-Southland highways are open again after being closed overnight by a wintry blast that has gripped much of the region.

The NZ Transport Agency’s contractors who are working hard to clear highways in the region have been helped by rain that has melted away snow.  A number of the highways that have re-opened have restrictions in place. More details about these plus the latest highway information can be found at www.highwayinfo.govt.nz(external link).

NZTA Otago-Southland Operations Manager Roger Bailey says the only highways still closed in the Otago-Southland are SH94 from Te Anau to Milford Sound, SH93 from Clinton to Mataura and SH87 between Outram and Middlemarch and these will be reviewed later this afternoon. SH94 between Te Anau and Milford Sound is the only one of these highways where an alternative route is not available.

“Although many highways are now back in action there are still a number of patches of snow and black ice. While our contractors are dealing with these as quickly as they can, motorists need to take extreme care and drive to the conditions.”

Mr Bailey said anyone who needs to travel should be well prepared, allow plenty of time to get to their destination and drive at safe speeds and avoid sudden braking, particularly on approaches to corners.  It is also a good idea to carry chains, have food and warm clothing in the vehicle plus a well charged cell phone for emergencies.  

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