Chains for the Range – Queenstown’s council

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Motorists using the Crown Range are being advised to carry chains as wintry weather begins to kick in.

Queenstown Lakes District Council transport manager Denis Mander says a few days last week saw ice and snow on the alpine pass and some drivers were not prepared.

“The Crown Range is a mountain road and as such is subject to snow and ice all year round,” Mander says.

“Our advice is to always carry chains but people are still taking their chances and travelling without them.

“It’s better to have them in the boot and not need them than to leave them in the garage and regret it.”

Mander says those without chains or not confident driving in winter conditions should give serious thought to driving instead through the Kawarau Gorge, an alternative route between Queenstown and Wanaka.

“It only adds a little bit of extra time to your journey and is the safer option in those cases.”

Contractors have begun gritting and ploughing the roads but motorists should still exercise extreme caution and watch their speed and following distances, Mander says.

“Conditions change rapidly and roads can freeze and snow can fall within minutes of gritting and clearance. Motorists need to be prepared.

Council will be running its popular free chain fitting workshops in June. Dates and venues will be announced shortly.