Icy highways South Island start of school week – slow for ice and gritted roads


South Island drivers need to slow down and watch following distances on both icy roads and gritted roads this morning and this week, says NZ Transport Agency Journey Manager Lee Wright. Shaded areas may be icy until midday and later in some places.

State highways are open but there are area-wide winter driving warnings in place around Christchurch/ Banks Peninsula and North Canterbury, also inland Otago, the Lindis Pass, Southland as well as Nelson and Tasman.

Drivers are well advised to carry chains on alpine passes (Arthur’s, Porters, Lewis, Lindis) as these may not all be passable early in the morning or later in the day.

Check this map(external link) or table(external link) for the updated conditions and any restrictions on towing vehicles.

Transport Agency and council road crews are gritting roads and highways from before dawn each day, in particular shaded spots and bridges.

In many places like SH88, the Port Chalmers highway, Dunedin, drivers need to slow down and leave more distance between vehicles to avoid the crashes which occurred there Saturday morning on a well-gritted road. “Build in extra time for the morning commute before the sun has had a chance to melt ice and slow down on grit the same as for ice,” says Ms Wright.

Snow on North Canterbury from Christchurch’s Brighton Beach, Sunday.

Snow on North Canterbury from Christchurch’s Brighton Beach, Sunday.

Otago and Southland – area warnings are in place because of snow and ice

  • SH85 Omakau to Kyeburn
  • SH6 Kawarau Falls to Lumsden
  • SH94 Te Anau to Milford Sound
  • SH8 through the Lindis Pass, Omarama to Tarras.

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
  • SH75 – light snow over Hill Top/ Banks Peninsula, last night, now icy. 
  • SH77 – the Rakaia Gorge between Ashburton and Darfield, also Methven and the Mt Hutt Skifield route – drivers need to carry chains currently.
  • Check the Traffic Table(external link) or map(external link) for updates on alpine passes – Arthur’s, Porters, Lewis.
The Lewis Pass, SH7 yesterday.

The Lewis Pass, SH7 yesterday.

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 also.

For latest road conditions, road restrictions, delays or road closures

Or call 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49).