State Highway 5 between Napier and Taupo reopened before midday, but the NZ Transport Agency is warning drivers to exercise extra caution due to the wintry conditions.
"Drivers need to be aware that there are still contractors on the road, so will need to drive carefully. Drivers should also keep moving while on the road, and not stop unless necessary. While the vista may look impressive, this is not the occasion to stop and take photographs. Please keep moving to keep everyone safe," Wayne Oldfield, Highway Manger, NZ Transport Agency says.
"We know that the road closure of this important regional route was very frustrating and we appreciated people’s patience while the road was closed. This was one of the heaviest snowfalls that this area has experienced. NZ Transport Agency contractors have been working hard to clear the road since Friday, with teams tackling the snow from both ends of the highway. Contractors have also been clearing a number of large trees blocking parts of the road, and contending with fallen powerlines. Six snow ploughs and an army of loaders were used so that we could re-open the road as soon as it was safe to do so," Mr Oldfield says.
"We will continue monitor the road and the weather conditions and make an assessment at 4pm this afternoon whether we need to close the road again overnight for safety reasons."
Other routes in the Central North Island where extra care is still required include:
- State Highway 1 Desert Road is now open but with winter driving conditions.
- State Highway 2 Tutira to Wairoa - debris from the weekend’s storm and winter driving conditions.
- State Highway 2 Napier to Tutira - debris from the weekend’s storm and winter driving conditions
- State Highway 2 Otoko to Matawai - ice
In general, road users are advised to take extra care and drive to the conditions. As weather and road conditions can change rapidly and we advise people to check the latest weather and road updates before they get on the road.
The Transport Agency’s Winter Journeys website www.nzta.govt.nz/winter-journeys brings together tips on winter driving and links to get updates on the latest weather and road conditions.
Tips for winter driving include dressing for the conditions, and carrying warm clothes, food and water in case you get stuck or a diversion makes your journey longer than anticipated.
Motorists can get real time information from: