The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) says some of the heaviest snow falls in decades could result in up to four Otago highways being closed until at least tomorrow.
NZTA Otago-Southland Highways Operations Manager Murray Clarke says SH87 Outram to Kyeburn, SH85 Palmerston to Kyeburn and SH8 the Lindis Pass are the worst hit by this unrelenting polar blast. The NZTA highways contractors are facing some of the most severe winter conditions in years.
“The main focus at the moment is keeping State Highway 8 from Clarksville Junction to Alexandra open to secure road access into Central Otago. This may mean some of the worst affected highways such as 85 and 87 may not open until Thursday or even Friday. Our contractors work hard to keep highways open and where they are closed it is purely for safety reasons.
In Southland, the effort is on keeping SH 6 between Invercargill and Queenstown operating. Heavy snow is causing issues between Lumsden and Queenstown, with this section of the highway expected to close overnight for safety reasons he said.
Murray Clarke says huge amounts of snow need to be shifted on a number of highways, with up to two metre deep snow drifts on State Highway 87 between Outram and Middlemarch. We ask motorists to be patient and if it is essential that they travel to regularly check road conditions prior to leaving. The most accurate, up to date information on state highway conditions can be found at www.highwayinfo.govt.nz(external link). The NZTA also operates a toll free Highway Info number, which is 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49).