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State Highway 1 - the Desert Road - unlikely to re-open


The NZ Transport Agency is advising that heavy snowfalls on State Highway 1 (the Desert Road) between Rangipo and Waiouru have closed the road and it is unlikely that the road will be re-opened today.

“These are 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 the morning has made the job of clearing the road treacherous due to ‘white-out conditions. “Contractors are continuing to work on the road but progress will be slow due to the amount of snow to be cleared.” 

The alternative route using SH46, 47, 4 and 49 through National Park to Waiouru 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 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 link).

For more information please contact:

Glenda Dobbyn
Senior Advisor
Engagement and Communications
NZ Transport Agency

T: 07 928 7908
M: 027 021 67217

The NZ Transport Agency works to create transport solutions for all New Zealanders - from helping new drivers earn their licences, to leading safety campaigns to investing in public transport, state highways and local roads.