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Safety concerns are behind a NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) decision to close SH7 the Lewis Pass and SH73 Arthurs Pass overnight.
NZTA Regional State Highways Manager Colin Knaggs says the situation will be reviewed at first light tomorrow. The call to close these two passes overnight was driven by concerns for the safety of both road users and road contractors, who were working in fairly severe weather conditions.
“There is over a metre of snow on both passes and the situation is being aggravated by a number of falling trees. These are some of the worst winter conditions we have seen in this area in June.”
Mr Knaggs says while the closures will cause some inconvenience, the safety of people has to come first. The weather forecast for the next 24 hours is looking a bit more promising and weather willing, we hope to have these passes operating as soon as possible tomorrow.
State highways in and around Christchurch are open, but are affected by slushy snow and while traffic is moving, drivers need to take extreme care, and not let themselves become frustrated with what at times, may be slow progress for them. The big concern is that overnight temperatures below zero are predicted and may cause major ice problems in the morning Mr Knaggs said.
The latest information on state highway conditions can be found at www.highwayinfo.govt.nz or free phone 0800 444449.