Black ice warning for Queenstown – Crown Range closed overnight


Drivers are being urged to take care on Queenstown’s roads after tonight’s (Monday) expected big freeze.

Police and NZ Transport Agency officials say black ice is a real danger on roads over the next 24 hours. Motorists should drive defensively and allow extra time for journeys.

Queenstown Lakes District Council will close Crown Range Road from 8pm to 6am with temperatures forecast to drop to -9 degrees.

Meanwhile power firm Delta says it’s working to restore power to 150 properties at Jack’s Point.

Residents on the golf-course estate have been without electricity since 3am this morning, the coldest day of the year.

Power was restored to 11 properties on Crown Terrace and also to Remarkables Skifield earlier today.

But Delta general manager asset management Derek Todd says if severe weather conditions continue customers should be prepared in the event of further power outages.

Queenstown’s council recommends drivers avoid the Crown Range during winter and take the alternative route to Wanaka via, which only adds an extra 15 minutes.

“We recommend that people who are not confident driving in winter conditions consider taking the alternate route,” council chief executive Adam Feeley says.

“At the very least travelling across the Crown Range, motorists must not only carry chains but be prepared to fit them.”

NZ Transport Agency Otago-Southland highways manager Ian Duncan says black ice is especially treacherous because it cannot be seen.

“Winter roads demand winter driving and motorists can keep themselves safe by lowering their speeds, increasing their following distances, and taking extra care when cornering,” Duncan says.

Acting area commander Otago Rural inspector Andrew Burns says the freezing conditions forecast overnight road will make driving extremely difficult.

Burns says it is important that anyone driving over the next 24 hours is aware of the likelihood of black ice right though out Otago and Southland.