Easter Weekend safe driving Canterbury, West Coast, Tasman and Nelson

Traffic will be heavy on highways out of Christchurch this Easter as people head off for the four-day break. The NZ Transport Agency is asking drivers to plan ahead to avoid delays and enjoy a safe trip.

'If people are aware where and when the highways are most congested and plan accordingly, it will help reduce stress for everyone on the road - drivers and passengers,' says Lee Wright, NZ Transport Agency Journey Manager Canterbury/ West Coast.

'Buckle up, drive sober and check your speed and following distances.'

With wet roads in many places, she advised drivers to allow double the stopping distance than they normally would on a dry road. 'Be vigilant and slow down for corners.' 

'With recent torrential rain on the West Coast, Nelson and Tasman District, watch for road signs warning of flooding. State Highway 6 through Franz Josef is open again(external link) after overnight flooding from the Waiho.'

Drivers heading to Nelson should be aware there may be detours in place on Rocks Road (the coastal road to the city from the south) due to high seas and flooding today. As at midday today, State Highway 6 /Rocks Road was closed to cars.

State Highway 60 Takaka Hill is currently closed but may reopen later this afternoon. For all road closures in the wider Tasman area, check the Tasman District Council’s(external link) website.

Areas and times where you can expect a slower journey

Check the HotSpots(external link) on the Transport Agency’s website, so you know where and at what times the roads have got congested previous Easter weekends.  Leaving earlier or later may help smooth out your journey and avoid the peak congested times.

  • State Highway 1 north of Christchurch: Heaviest traffic is from 4.30 to 6.00pm.
  • State Highway 1 south of Christchurch: Heaviest traffic is between 4 and 6 pm.

Anticipate some delays – SH75 Halswell, Temuka River bridge, Upper Orari River bridge/ Warbirds Over Wanaka and Mingha Bluff

Motorists should face minimal delays from state highway road works, with no active work sites over the four day weekend in Canterbury and the West Coast.

On the highway through Halswell, south of Christchurch, SH75, there will be 30 km/h speed restrictions in place due to recent road repairs.

There will be one set of lights in operation on State Highway 73 at Mingha Bluff on the road between Canterbury and the West Coast.

State Highway 1 Temuka River bridge, north of Timaru, Thursday night, 24 March, from 8 pm to midnight the bridge will be down to one lane while work is completed.

People driving south to Warbirds Over Wanaka(external link) are already swelling traffic volumes on State Highway 79, the inland route from Rangitata to Geraldine.  Drivers should expect temporary traffic management near the Upper Orari River Bridge.

Help is at hand

To provide feedback on something you've noticed on the highways email info@nzta.govt.nz or call 0800 4 HIGHWAYS, 0800 44 44 49.