The NZ Transport Agency says State Highway 1 (the Desert Road) between Rangipo and Waiouru is now open with clearing taking longer due to the sheer volume of snow and the challenges of clearing around narrow and restricted sections of the highway.
NZTA’s Regional Highway Network Operations Manager, Karen Boyt says drivers will need to take extreme care when the road reopens as the snow has been cleared to the edge of the road and therefore stopping on the side of Desert Road from Rangipo to Waiouru is unsafe.
“We know travellers often like to stop along the road to view the mountains, this is not possible currently and we urge traffic not to attempt to stop along the highway as this is unsafe, signage is in place to warn drivers.”
Ms Boyt says more snowfall is forecast around the Central North Island this Sunday, so school holiday travellers are encouraged to check highway conditions and to plan their journey in advance.
“We ask drivers to drive to the conditions and to ensure they check the road they plan to use is open and they allow sufficient time to reach their destination.”
The NZTA’s website is regularly updated with information about most closures and detours at 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 www.onthemove.govt.nz(external link)