Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is encouraging motorists to expect winter driving conditions on State Highway 1/Desert Road and State Highway 5 Napier-Taupo Road overnight and tomorrow.
Waikato System Manager Cara Lauder says the Metservice is forecasting snow showers on the higher parts of the Desert Road this evening through until around 7am tomorrow (Tuesday 29 June), with significant snow expected from late Tuesday morning until Tuesday evening.
“Snow showers may also affect the summit area on the Napier-Taupo Road tomorrow between 6am and noon.
“Motorists are asked to take care. We encourage drivers to be prepared for winter driving conditions, including snow and ice.
“Road closures are possible. Plan ahead, allow extra time for your journeys and drive to the road and weather conditions. Maintain a greater following distance between your vehicle and the one in front, slow down and be prepared for unexpected hazards.
As the direction of the wind is expected to change tomorrow morning, other state highways in the area may also be affected, so continue to check for the latest road conditions across the Central Plateau.
Ms Lauder says motorists can prepare by ensuring their vehicles are safe, roadworthy and well equipped.
“Make sure you have a safe spare tyre, your lights, brakes and windscreen-wipers are all working, and you have a clean windscreen inside and out. Ensure your cell phone is well charged and carry a car phone charger or power bank. Blankets, snacks and bottles of water are also a good idea, in case of an emergency or breakdown.”
Tue 29 June, 8.30am update
State Highway 1 Desert Road is closed between Rangipo and Waiouru due to snow. A detour is in place (see below). Please follow the detour and allow at least an extra 45 minutes travel time.
Detour info: For northbound traffic use State Highway 49, right onto State Highway 4, right onto State Highway 47, right onto State Highway 46 and then left back onto SH1. Reverse for southbound.
Tue 29 June, 9.46am update
State Highway 4 is now closed between Tohunga Junction and National Park. There is no detour in place and motorists are advised to delay their travel.
This closure also impacts the previous detour route for the State Highway 1 Desert Road closure. Motorists are asked to delay their travel. While detours via New Plymouth or Napier are possible, there is a caution in place for snow on State Highway 5 Napier-Taupo Road, and reports of snow around Stratford and Midhurst in Taranaki.
Motorists can visit the Waka Kotahi Journey Planner website (journeys.nzta.govt.nz(external link)) for up to date information on road closures, detours, road works, traffic and delays.
The Waka Kotahi website contains more easy tips for safe driving in winter conditions: nzta.govt.nz/winterjourneys(external link)
Winter driving tips
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