As the forecast heavy rain fell over the western and northern parts of the South Island overnight and today, a number of highways have closed with slips and fallen trees blocking access.
Two places are likely* to stay closed until 5 pm, both on State Highway 6.
These are at Inangahua Junction, where the Buller River is high and flooding covers the highway, and Fox Glacier to Haast in South Westland, where fallen trees and slips cover different parts of the highway.
“There is a detour for the Inangahua Junction route via Brown Creek Road, however, if drivers can delay their journeys along this area of highway today, that is advisable,” says Tresca Forrester, Journey Manager, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.
STOP PRESS 3.30 pm update: The Haast to Fox Glacier section of SH6 opened after 3.30 pm today.
The Wairau Valley highway, SH63, between Renwick and St Arnaud, also closed this afternoon at The Wash bridge and is likely to remain closed overnight.
Updates here for Wairau Valley: https://www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/roadclosures/283548(external link)
Fallen trees across parts of the highway will slow traffic on SH6 Rai Valley to Renwick, in Marlborough. Please take care and be ready to slow down at short notice.
Further east, between Picton and Spring Creek(external link) in Marlborough strong winds mean that motorcyclists and drivers of vehicles with high sides need to take special care.
Ms Forrester encourages all drivers in the South Island, particularly in the north and western regions, to check the traffic and travel pages for updates before heading on longer journeys today and this week as the rain is forecast to continue: https://www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic(external link)
As well as the significant slips and treefalls which have closed highways, there is also surface flooding north of Westport, between Granity and Mokihinui (SH67) and in other places on the South Island network.
Drivers need to slow down in these conditions, use their lights for visibility to other road users and increase their travelling distances to other vehicles.
For updates - Fox Glacier to Haast:
West Coast all sites:
Rai Valley to Renwick, Marlborough:
Southland highway update:
SH94 between Te Anau and Milford Sound in Southland reopened after 11 am after earlier closing due to a slip at Lake Gunn.
Plan ahead for a safe, enjoyable journey. Keep up to date with: