Beware black ice highways in the South Island this morning – carry chains if in doubt


South Island drivers are urged to drive well prepared for snow and icy conditions today, says NZ Transport Agency Journey Manager Lee Wright.

Snow, black ice and low daytime temperatures are affecting many roads and highways from the Omihi Saddle north of Christchurch to Otago and Southland. Snow ploughs will be on some roads most of the day and contracting crews have gritted highways from early today. Drivers also need to take care and slow down driving on gritted roads.
  • State Highways 87 Mosgiel to Kyeburn, and SH85 Palmerston, north of Dunedin, to Kyeburn, have closed. 

Chains essential alpine passes, no towing vehicles

For the Canterbury/West Coast alpine passes, chains are essential on both the Lewis Pass (SH7 – from Hanmer) and Springfield to Arthur’s Pass/ Porters Pass (SH73). No towing vehicles on either main route.
In Southland, there is widespread black ice with contractors gritting highways from early this morning.
In Otago, there is snow in the Maniototo and Morven Hills area, with clearing and gritting in progress, chains are essential around Ranfurly. 
Sunshine may ease black ice conditions by lunchtime so if people can delay travel to the middle of the day, that would be a good idea, says Ms Wright. “Watch your speeds and following distances and take care in shaded areas and on bridge decks,” she says.

Current update – subject to change across the day

Drivers are encouraged to check the Transport Agency’s web pages before heading out and carry chains if in any doubt. Journey Manager Lee Wright says drivers need to be prepared, with blankets, food, water, phone charger, ready for changes in conditions.

Winter journeys travelling tips here(external link).
  • SH1 Palmerston (north of Dunedin) to Gore (south of Dunedin) have snow and ice so care is needed. Web cam of Dunedin’s Northern Motorway Leith Saddle here(external link).
  • SH87 Mosgiel to Kyeburn – closed.
  • SH85 Palmerston to Kyeburn – closed.
  • SH85 Omakau to Kyeburn – area warning in place, care needed.
  • SH8 and 79, an area wide warning remains in place, Twizel to Geraldine (ie Fairlie to Geraldine and Twizel to Fairlie) - take care.
  • SH8 Omarama to Tarras, the Lindis Pass, care needed.
  • SH1 north of Christchurch, Kaikoura to Cheviot, is open but intermittent snow is affecting the area from the Omihi Saddle near Waipara so drivers should be prepared.
  • SH77 the Rakaia Gorge between Ashburton and Darfield, also Methven and the Mt Hutt Skifield route - care is needed, snow gets heavier between Darfield and the Rakaia Gorge.
  • SH75, between Christchurch and Banks Peninsula/ Akaroa - drive with care, snow and ice, snow at Hill Top.
  • SH80 Aoraki/ Mount Cook – care needed.
  • SH6 Kawarau Falls to Lumsden – care needed.
  • SH94 Te Anau to Milford – care needed, icy conditions.
  • SH6 Makarora to Hawea has Stop/Go with rockfall warnings in place. Please travel during daylight hours through this route and build in time.
  • SH6 Ross to Haast, South Westland –a strong wind warning remains in place so high-sided vehicle drivers and motorcyclists need to take care.
  • Check the Traffic Table or map for updates on alpine passes – Arthur’s, Porters, Lewis.
  • North of the South Island - SH63 St Arnaud to Rainbow Skifield, SH60 Upper Takaka to Riwaka, SH6 Hope Saddle - snow and ice, care needed.(external link)