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State Highway 1 - the Desert Road - expected to reopen midday

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The NZ Transport Agency says the workers are progressing well with clearing snow from the road on State Highway 1 (the Desert Road) between Rangipo and Waiouru which was closed on Wednesday night and is expected to reopen midday today.

“Workers have done an amazing job of moving some of the heaviest falls seen on this road for some years – up to one metre deep in places, “ says the NZTA’s Regional Highway Network Operations Manager, Karen Boyt.

Ms Boyt says more snowfall throughout yesterday morning made the job challenging due to ‘white-out conditions.

“Contractors have been working around the clock to move the snow and it should be cleared by midday we expect.”

Until the road is reopened drivers should use the alternative route SH46, 47, 4 and 49 through National Park to Waiouru which is open - although care is required. “Our contractors are continuing to monitor this route and motorists should be aware that there will be maintenance vehicles operating on these roads clearing snow and treating ice areas as necessary.”

“We ask that people plan their journey where possible around the closure and allow extra time to take the alternative routes – please, drive to the conditions and watch your speeds.”

The NZTA’s website is regularly updated with information about most closures and detours at http://www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic(external link).  This information is also available by phoning the NZTA’s free phone on 0800 4HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49), which can also be used to report any significant road issues or hazards which people may come across during their travels.

The NZTA also uses other technology to provide information to enable drivers to make better informed choices about their travel.  On The Move is a free service which enables people to sign up for information about crashes, road works and driving conditions on their frequently used routes - to sign up, go to http://www.onthemove.govt.nz(external link)

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