The NZ Transport Agency warns all drivers on the West Coast and crossing the alpine passes after the school holiday break to be ready for wild, windy conditions with sleet and snow on the passes. There are small branches and wind-blown debris on many roads.
Drivers should carry chains on the alpine passes as well as Lindis Pass in South Canterbury.
All contract teams are working hard to keep the main highways passable and safe, said Transport Agency Journey Manager Lee Wright. “Please drive with care and keep safe following distances,” she said.
Latest Sunday 2 pm update from the contract teams:
State highway 73, between Canterbury and West Coast – chains are now essential on Arthurs Pass with no towing vehicles allowed. Snow falling.
State Highway 7, the Lewis Pass – snow has started falling early afternoon but so far no restrictions on vehicles. Very heavy rain and strong winds overnight, snow ploughs keeping road clear.
State Highway 65, the Shenandoah Highway through Maruia, south of Murchison – surface flooding.
South Westland- rain has eased although still very windy and trees have been cleared off roads.
Buller - the Buller River has continued to rise and a low-lying area at Inangahua is being monitored for flooding.
People should check the Transport Agency’s traffic map(external link) and Met Service(external link) severe weather forecasts and carry food, water and blankets in their vehicles in case there are delays on the journey, Ms Wright said.