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Snow and ice highway update - 9.30am update

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As the South Island faces a cold snap over the next few days, motorists are being urged to drive with caution

A heavy snow warning(external link) is in place for parts of Southland, Otago and South Canterbury with contracting teams ploughing roads.

NZ Transport Agency Journey Manager Lee Wright says those travelling through alpine passes or travelling in the south of the South Island and inland areas should carry chains and know how to put them on.

"You need to ensure that your vehicle is safe for winter driving and allow extra time.

When it's really bad conditions you also have to ask yourself - is it really important to get there today?"

Ms Wright says as well as carrying chains, people will need to keep their speed low.

"You will have snow on the road, there may be snow on tree-trunks and branches that fall on the road, so you just have to be careful.”

She says it's also important to bring a phone charger and an emergency kit in case of breakdowns and carry food and blankets in case of delays. All drivers need to be careful under shaded areas that get little sun.

Highways closed due to snow:

  • State Highway (SH) 6 Haast Pass to Makarora (Otago side) has just closed, update at midday.
  • SH94 Milford to Te Anau highway is closed due to snow, next update 10 am.

Snow – chains essential and now towing vehicles most of these highways:

  • SH7 Canterbury side of the Lewis Pass, Hanmer turnoff to Springs Junction, is open, chains essential and no towing vehicles.
  • SH73 Arthurs Pass to Otira/ Porters Pass is open, chains essential and no towing vehicles.
  • SH80 the highway to Aoraki/ Mt Cook – chains are now essential.

It is snowing in these places and caution is needed:

  • Dunedin to Waitati, SH1 – see MetService Leith Saddle traffic camera here.(external link)
  • Lindis Pass/ Burkes Pass, Tarras to Omarama and Fairlie to Tekapo  – SH8 – extreme care is needed currently.
  • Reefton to Springs Junction, the West Coast side of SH7.
  • Rainbow Ski Field to St Arnaud and Renwick to St Arnaud on SH63.

Snow and ice, take care:

  • There is snow and ice between Kawarau Falls, near Queenstown, Otago, and Lumsden in Southland – SH6.
  • There is also snow and ice on SH60 Takaka to Riwaka and SH6 Murchison to Wakefield.

Rockfall following slip at weekend

Drivers need to take care on SH6 Makarora to Hawea alongside Lake Wanaka where a slip occurred on Sunday. There may be delays and drivers are encouraged to travel in daylight hours for safety.

For up-to-date traffic and weather news, visit:

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