Both the Lewis Pass route (SH7) and SH73 via Porters Pass and Arthur’s Pass between the West Coast and Canterbury reopened after 11.30 am today.
Heavy snow earlier today closed both routes before 9 am.
'Crews have been working hard to clear these highways this morning, but people need to keep an eye on our Facebook pages or the web links as the situation can change quite quickly,' says Tresca Forrester, NZ Transport Agency Journey Manager.
The restrictions on the Arthur’s Pass SH73 route requiring chains and no towing vehicles have also been lifted, she says.
The inland road to Kaikōura, Route 70, (Waiau to Kaikōura) also closed due to snow from Kaikōura back to Lyford. Checkpoints are in place at Waiau and at Dairy Flat on the seaward side to ensure people do not get stuck. This closure is being updated at 3 pm. (See https://www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/roadclosures/266515(external link) )
Lower temperatures over the next few days mean that drivers need to be strongly aware of ice on highways and slow down accordingly, says Ms Forrester. Crews will be gritting and applying de-icing compound to keep routes safely open as much as possible.
More snow and winter weather is forecast heading into the weekend, so Ms Forrester encourages road users to stay up to date and drive well prepared for the conditions.
* For regular emailed updates on South Island highway closures please email the Christchurch Transport Operations Centre email@example.com to get on their list.
* NZ Transport Agency South Island page for updates: https://www.facebook.com/nztasouthisland/(external link)
* Canterbury traffic web link here: https://www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/regions/11(external link)
* Traffic travel pages NZTA for highway updates: https://www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic(external link)
* Traffic cameras also give people an idea what to expect: https://www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic-and-travel-information/traffic-cameras/(external link)
* MetService severe weather warnings: https://www.metservice.com/warnings/severe-weather-warnings(external link)