Icy conditions likely to continue this week in the South Island


The icy conditions and black ice on a number of South Island highways and roads this past weekend and Monday are likely to continue as temperatures remain low across the South Island.

The NZ Transport Agency reminds all drivers to be ready for ice and grit – both require people to reduce their speeds and maintain safe following distances.

Shaded areas may be icy until midday and later in some places, says Transport Agency Journey Manager Lee Wright.

State Highway 87 between Kyeburn and Outram in Otago was closed this morning for three hours due to extremely icy conditions. SH6 Kawarau Falls Otago to Lumsden in Southland had a black ice warning in place.

State highways in the South Island were all open this afternoon.

Drivers are well advised to carry chains on alpine passes as these may not all be passable early in the morning or later in the day, says Ms Wright.

Otago and Southland – area warnings are in place because of ice and snow, road closing from 6.30 pm three nights this week for maintenance of Homer Tunnel

  • SH94 Te Anau to Milford Sound.  Please note this highway will be closed at the Hollyford turnoff Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights this week at 6.30 pm until 2.30 am the next day for maintenance in the Homer Tunnel.
  • Rockfalls, the Neck of Lake Wanaka

  • SH6 Makarora to Hawea has Stop/Go with rockfall warnings in place. Please travel during daylight hours through this route/ the Haast Pass and build in time.

Canterbury – area warnings are in place because of snow and ice

  • SH8 and SH79 Twizel to Geraldine

  • SH80 Aoraki/ Mt Cook to Ben Ohau

  • SH77 – the Rakaia Gorge between Ashburton and Darfield, also Methven and the Mt Hutt Skifield route.

  • Check the Traffic Table(external link)  or map(external link) for updates on alpine passes – Arthur’s, Porters, Lewis, Lindis.

North of the South Island – Tasman and Nelson

  • SH63 St Arnaud to Rainbow Skifield, SH60 Upper Takaka to Riwaka, SH6 Hope Saddle - snow and ice warnings in place.

Safety tips

Look out for shaded areas caused by road cuttings and tall trees where the roads freeze sooner and ice may not thaw during the day.

Bridges may stay slippery longer than other road surfaces.

Frost is more severe at daybreak, so be prepared for this after it becomes light. While it may not be frosty at 6am, it could be an hour or two later.

Allow greater following distances.

Road users still need to be very careful, even if roads are covered with grit.

Is your journey really necessary? Observe road warnings and allow extra time for your journey.

Black ice, sometimes called clear ice, refers to a thin coating of glazed ice on a surface. The typically low levels of noticeable ice pellets, snow, or sleet surrounding black ice means that areas of the ice are often practically invisible to drivers. Black ice is hazardous due to the increased risk of losing control and loss of traction.

Take extra care on bridges and overpasses as black ice forms first on these surfaces making the road surface particularly hazardous.

Winter Journeys travelling tips(external link)

See the NZ Transport Agency's travel and traffic page(external link)

Queenstown Lakes District(external link)

Call 0800 4 HIGHWAYS 0800 44 44 49

Twitter https://twitter.com/NZTAOS(external link) (Otago Southland twitter page)

https://twitter.com/NZTACWC(external link) (Canterbury/ West Coast)

Facebook NZ Transport Agency South Island