The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) is hoping to have SH7 the Lewis Pass and SH73 Arthurs Pass open to traffic by late afternoon today.
NZTA Regional State Highways Manager Colin Knaggs says good progress is being made in clearing the huge amounts of snow in these two areas, but removing the large number of trees across the road remains a challenge. Our contractors are throwing all their resources at getting these highways open with specialist tree removal crews are on site to speed up the tree removal process.
“It has been a long time since a storm has levelled so many trees in these two areas. Crews are working from both ends of these roads. It was safe enough for a couple of road clearing crews to work through the night and has been a huge help.”
Colin Knaggs says the main focus of today’s work is clearing fallen trees on an 8km section of highway east of Lewis Pass and on SH73 from Bealey to Arthurs Pass. As long as the weather holds they should get most of this work done today and get both roads open to traffic. A further update on how this road clearing work is progress will be made mid afternoon.
Icy conditions are going to remain an issue for at least another day or two on all roads in Canterbury including state highways and we urge motorists to take extreme care and keep their speeds down and increase their following distances Mr Knaggs said.
The latest information on state highway conditions can be found at www.highwayinfo.govt.nz(external link) or free phone 0800 444449.