Road users urged to take care on South Island roads


The NZ Transport Agency says drivers need to be extra vigilant in the South Island, with the wintry blast expected to continue to affect roads and driving conditions in many areas over the next two days.

State Highway 87 map
  • Due to snow, State Highway 87, Outram to Kyeburn, in Otago, was closed this morning to all non-four wheel drive vehicles. After midday today, it reopened. Check the Transport Agency’s map for updates(external link).

Transport Agency Journey Manager Lee Wright says the MetService(external link) are advising of snow showers, rain, high winds and high seas in many places today and tomorrow.  Contractors will be gritting shaded, ice-prone areas, she said.

“Please keep your speeds down, especially when driving on gritted roads,” she says.

Ms Wright says motorists should be prepared for very cold weather especially if they’re travelling the alpine passes such as SH73 Arthur’s Pass, SH7 Lewis Pass, and SH8 Lindis Pass, as conditions can change quickly and catch people out.

The Transport Agency’s Winter Journeys campaign aims to encourage drivers to be safe through planning ahead for an enjoyable winter driving experience.

The Picton to Christchurch Alternate Route, SH7 – Lewis Pass:

MetService advises that snow is expected to about 800 metres this evening and clear early Wednesday morning. Between 7pm today and 1am Wednesday, 2 to 4cm of snow may settle about the top of the road.

Arthur’s Pass, SH73

Snow is likely near the summit until 5pm today, with 1 or 2cm possibly settling on the top of the road, MetService reported around 11 am today.

Lindis Pass, SH8

Snow is expected above 600 metres until midnight tonight, and 2 to 5cm may settle about the top of the road, with lesser amounts to 600 metres.

Haast Pass, SH6

Snow is possible about higher parts of the road until early this evening, although little if any is expected to settle.

Milford Road (SH94)

Snow is expected until midnight tonight, and 3 to 5cm may settle about the top of the road. Icy conditions are expected on the road early Wednesday morning.

Dunedin to Waitati Highway (SH1)

Snow showers expected to continue until 6am tomorrow (Wednesday), 1 to 3cm could settle on the road.

Simple rules for safe winter travelling:

  • allow extra time
  • ensure your vehicle is safe for winter driving
  • drive to the road and weather conditions
  • slow down and be prepared for unexpected hazards
  • allow greater following distance between you and the vehicle ahead
  • make sure your cell phone is well charged, check car charger also
  • have blankets, snacks, bottles of water ready in case of emergency or a breakdown.

How to stay up to date:

For real time information on highway conditions and incidents or to report issues, check: