South Island motorists: road snow patrols on alert, chains needed


The NZ Transport Agency is asking motorists to take extra care on South Island roads today and this weekend as a cold weather front is dumping snow, making chains essential on many routes.

Canterbury/West Coast Journey Manager Lee Wright says the Lewis Pass has closed this afternoon, with an update on status at 5 pm on the NZTA website. “Vehicles that have run into trouble will be freed and the road then reopened but please note that chains are essential.

“If you see a sign saying “chains essential” that means you have to put them on.

“The current forecasts are for snow in the Canterbury high country down to 500 metres tonight. State highway contractors are all on alert and patrolling.

“The weather is not looking good for tonight and Saturday morning or Sunday night. Show could be down to 200 metres.”

Key highway routes update at 3.30 pm Friday. Please be aware conditions are changing, check the website(external link) or phone 0800 FOR HIGHWAYS.

  • SH1 North Omihi Saddle, North Canterbury, will be monitored.
  • SH7 Lewis Pass, Hanmer turnoff to Springs Junction – snow, chains essential, closed to towing vehicles. Closed as of mid this afternoon with an update at 4 pm.
  • SH73 Arthur’s Pass route to the West Coast – snow, chains essential, closed to towing vehicles from Springfield to Otira.
  • SH75 Banks Peninsula, Akaroa via Hilltop - expecting snow tonight.
  • SH77 Ashburton to Methven/ Mount Hutt - road will be monitored.
  • SH6 Franz Josef to Fox Glacier – winter driving conditions, be prepared.
  • SH8 Omarama to Tarras – snow, chains essential, closed to towing vehicles.
  • SH80 Mt Cook road – snow, chains are essential, closed to towing vehicles.

For the latest on road information, freephone 0800 4 HIGHWAYS, 0800 44 44 49 or visit the Transport Agency’s website: link) and Facebook page(external link) .

For the latest Met Service forecasts, check the Metservice website(external link).