The NZ Transport Agency advises people driving between Picton and Christchurch tomorrow, Friday, 12 January, to be aware that more rain is forecast overnight tonight (Thursday) which may affect people planning to travel on State Highway 1 through Kaikōura.
As part of their severe weather warnings, the MetService advises that 40-60mm of rain is expected today and more could arrive overnight in Kaikōura. Around 20 mm had fallen in Kaikōura to lunchtime today with slightly more falling south of the town in the hills. Although rain is forecast to lighten from later Friday, rain could still be in the 50-70mm range and higher in the Hundalees towards Cheviot.
Transport Agency Journey Manager Tresca Forrester encourages travellers to keep up to date with the latest information.
“People should check information about their route before they set off but also at key decision points on their trip to make sure the weather and road conditions haven’t changed. Real-time information is available at www.nzta.govt.nz/p2c(external link) or by calling 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49).”
Two parts of SH1, both north and south of Kaikōura, are still construction sites which are vulnerable to severe weather. These two sections are currently closed each night from 8.30pm-7am as a safety precaution.
“While the road is scheduled to open at 7am on Friday morning, we have a short time frame between 5.30am - 7am for the crews to conduct morning safety inspections before we open the road. It may be that the opening of the road is delayed if there are safety or slip concerns following those inspections.”
If travelling between Picton and Christchurch the ‘alternate route’ (via State Highways 63, 6, 65 and 7 through Lewis Pass) remains a reliable 24/7 option, but care needs to be taken whichever route you take.
“Wet weather can cause all roads to get slippery but especially those where construction work is underway like the alternate route, so it’s important to take extra care and drive to the conditions.”
*If State Highway 1 is delayed from opening through Kaikōura at the usual time of 7.00 am Friday (12 January) the links below will be updated by 7.00 am on Friday.