NZ Transport Agency update on conditions on South Island highways as of Saturday morning 11am
Update on snow and highway situation South Island:
All state highways in South Island open with restrictions (ie carry chains and be prepared to use them, drive to conditions if roads icy), except SH94 Milford Te Anau. This will be updated at 12pm, see the NZ Transport Agency web(external link).
Please be aware conditions are changing, check the website or phone 0800 4 HIGHWAYS. Please note the web updates occur about 20 minutes after the road opens, so expect a slight delay. The NZ Transport Agency South Island Facebook page(external link) is also being regularly updated.
The Lewis Pass (State Highway 7), Rahu Saddle (on the West Coast side) and Otira (State Highway 73 to the West Coast) remained closed overnight.
All vehicles were removed or the passengers taken to safety for the night, said Transport Agency Journey Manager Lee Wright. “The police assisted Transport Agency contractors with the operation on the Otira and did a final sweep before leaving the area.
“The Lewis Pass has 400 mm snow and a very heavy snow burden on the trees. It is estimated that some of the ‘snow bombs’ are up to ¾ tonne so no work can be done in these areas until they fall.
“When they fall they are likely to bring down trees and tree branches that will have to be cleared before the road can reopen. The weather is fine and sunny which will help with clearing operations. However, it may also be icy which may delay reopening until mid morning or later.
“The contractors worked on the Rahu Saddle all night clearing trees.”
Further south on State Highway 70, ice is making driving treacherous through the Pusey Gorge, between Geraldine and Fairlie.
Chains are essential on many open routes. “If you see a sign saying “chains essential” that means you have to put them on,” said Ms Wright.
Key highway routes update at 8.45 am Saturday, 8 August. Please be aware conditions are changing, check the website(external link) or phone 0800 4 HIGHWAYS. Please note the web updates occur about 20 minutes after the road opens, so expect a slight delay.
For the latest on road information, freephone 0800 4 HIGHWAYS, 0800 44 44 49 or visit the Transport Agency’s website: www.highwayinfo.govt.nz(external link) and Facebook page(external link).
For the latest MetService forecasts, check their web site: http://www.metservice.com/national/home(external link)