Traffic signals over weekend for Haast Pass travellers, cold spring weather into second week school holidays


The end of the school holidays’ first week brings good news for Haast Pass road users for this weekend and a warning for the wider South Island, says Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.

Haast Pass traffic signals from Friday night for this weekend

The good news for users of the West Coast/Otago Haast Pass highway (SH6) is the pause on escorted convoys over Muddy Creek from Friday night, for the weekend ahead.

“Crews have pulled out all the stops to get this piece of highway ready for safe use over the weekend with traffic signals keeping the Muddy Creek area single lane,” says Robert Choveaux, System Manager for Waka Kotahi in Otago and Southland.

“The road will be open 24/7 this weekend, barring any more slips or severe weather events.

“From Monday, the highway will close again with convoys resuming at 8 am potentially with an extra fourth convoy, which we will confirm on Monday.

“People still need to bear in mind that this route is subject to short term closures if more rain falls or slips occur so check before you head off.”

  • Heavy rain is forecast for the West Coast on Sunday.
  • For Friday 29 September, the convoy times for the closure near Makarora remain the same at 8 am, midday and 4.30 pm. 
  • From Friday evening around 5 pm, traffic lights will manage a single lane across Muddy Creek and its approaches so escorted convoys will no longer be needed over the weekend, helping out the Haast Whitebait Festival people.
  • Convoys and restricted access will resume at 8 am, midday and 4.30 pm Monday, 2 October, at 8 am and continue from then.
  • Crews will continue work around the site over coming days, aiming to restore normal bridge and road access as soon as possible.

Cold temperatures are continuing

Much of the South Island has forecast low temperatures over the coming days which could mean snow may fall over alpine passes/Arthur’s Pass (SH73) with snow down to 500 metres and lower in Southland, according to MetService.

“While these snow amounts are forecast to be small, we advise people to drive with care,” says Waka Kotahi Journey Manager Tresca Forrester.

“Crews will be out monitoring roads, applying grit or anti-icing compound if necessary,” she says.

Strong winds – take extra care

There is a strong wind watch out across the South Island’s main divide from 6am Friday – 6am Saturday. “These conditions are still catching people out on highways, especially in high-sided vehicles like campervans or if people are towing boats/caravans,” says Ms Forrester. “Please be vigilant in high altitude and open areas across the high country.”

SH1 Kaikōura Coast – could be big waves Ōhau Point

People need to keep an eye out on the Kaikōura Coast around Ōhau Point, north of the town, from Friday afternoon to late Saturday with up to 3.5 metre waves forecast. Traffic control will be in place if waves hit these heights for everyone’s safety.

Given it is the school holidays and people will be catching ferries from Picton, people need to build in extra time, says Ms Forrester.

Helpful places for updates on weather and highway status: