Queenstown road network recovering after snow dump

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All roads in the Wakatipu are now open as the network slowly recovers from heavy snow fall – but black ice could cause issues tomorrow.

Queenstowners awoke this morning to the first snow dump to lake level of winter 2013.

The snow – which continued to fall throughout the morning – created treacherous driving conditions.

Schools across the district were closed and flights to and from Queenstown Airport were cancelled.

State Highway 6 between The Remarkables turnoff and Dipton was closed but the arterial route reopened earlier this afternoon.

Local roads around Queenstown remain slippery and Queenstown District Council advises motorists to carry chains.

Council transport manager Denis Mander says work will continue on road clearing until later tonight.

“Our contractors will be patrolling until 10pm, clearing the reminder of the snow and then gritting,” Mander says.

“They’ll be back on deck from 5.30am prepping the roads and with temperatures expected to drop to minus 6 overnight; the issue for tomorrow is most likely to be ice.”

Mander says people will need to drive to the conditions, keeping their speed down and ensuring they leave plenty of space between themselves and vehicles in front of them.

Council road reports will be available online at its website and via Facebook and Twitter by 7am.

The New Zealand Transport Agency advises chains are essential on Crown Range Road, which is closed to towing vehicles. Chains should also be carried on Malaghans Road and Arthurs Point. Extreme care is required through the Kawarau Gorge.

Connectabus services were suspended but some are now running. Rubbish and recycling collection was delayed but got under way shortly after 3pm.

The conditions should improve to fine weather tomorrow.

One flight to Christchurch managed to take-off from Queenstown Airport at about 3pm but no other services have operated, with a flight from Melbourne diverted to Auckland and now due to arrive tomorrow.