Snow coming overnight to alpine passes, Kaikōura SH1 closing early today 5pm


The NZ Transport Agency is closing SH1 through Kaikōura early this afternoon at 5 pm instead of 7.30pm as a precaution with heavy rain falling today and snow forecast for overnight on the Kaikōura ranges.

Severe gales are forecast for parts of the upper South and North Islands tonight(external link) and into this week. In the Canterbury high country and alpine passes snow is forecast(external link) as low as 300 metres so all road users are asked to plan ahead and check road conditions before they set out.

Picton to Christchurch

Overnight traffic between Picton and Christchurch takes the Lewis Pass route (SH7) through Murchison where snow is forecast for later tonight and tomorrow. The highway will either be open or closed with traffic requested to wait at Murchison or Culverden/ Engineers’ Camp if snow temporarily closes the route overnight or later this week.

Snow ploughs will be working and warm road temperatures may melt snow faster than in normal winter conditions, says Tresca Forrester, Transport Agency Journey Manager. “Crews will be doing all they can to keep traffic safely moving.”

Road users should take extra care, particularly in shaded areas and on bridge decks,” she says. “Our road temperatures are still quite warm so any snow may be cleared reasonably easily. But people should plan for delays regardless and pack extra food, warm clothing and take care on the roads.

“Extra crews are ready to respond to this weather event and the safety of all road users is our number one priority.”

Arthur’s Pass/ Otira

Snow is also forecast for State Highway 73 between the West Coast/ Greymouth and Christchurch and drivers on that route should carry chains if they are travelling overnight and later this week.

Otago/ Queenstown Lakes District Council

People should be prepared for snow and delays tonight and tomorrow in places like:

  • State Highway 87 (Outram to Middlemarch),
  • State Highway 1 (Dunedin to Waitati)
  • State Highway 85 (The Pigroot) (Palmerston to Kyeburn)
  • State Highway 8 Lindis Pass (Omarama to Tarras)
  • State Highway 8 Milton to Rae’s Junction
  • The Crown Range between Wanaka and Frankton.

Drivers should carry chains when travelling in alpine and high country areas, and follow road crews’ advice.

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