The NZ Transport Agency is reminding freight operators that the alternative to State highway 1 between Picton and Christchurch is a longer route and to ensure that drivers are well rested and take plenty of breaks.
NZTA’s national manager operations Kate Styles said it was pleasing to see freight companies had adjusted the way they operates to work around the closure of State highway 1 and the extra time this journey involves.
“We have had enquiries about variations to the work-time, rest-time rule for the alternative route. This is something we will assess on a case-by- case basis, and in very exceptional circumstances. Our primary concern will always be the safety of drivers and all road users,” she said.
“We want to make sure that commercial drivers who travel this challenging route are aware of the extra time they will be driving and are rested and refreshed. This road is now a vital lifeline for the South Island and we need to ensure that we do all we can to lower the risks for those using it, such as driver fatigue.”
The alternative route that involves State Highways 7, 65, 6 and 63, adds at least three hours to a trip between Picton and Christchurch. All motorists using the road need to be aware this is a narrow, windy route with few passing opportunities. The road is getting far more traffic than usual and all drivers need to be prepared for queues and potential delays.
“We have received unsolicited feedback from road users letting us know how courteous truck drivers on the route are being, which is really great to hear,” said Styles.
Commercial operators and drivers who want to be sent traffic updates for the route via text message are encouraged to email EQSHinfo@nzta.govt.nz to be added to the distribution list for this service. Once signed up they will remain on the distribution list until the end of summer (Feb 2017).
All High Productivity Motor Vehicles (HPMVs) including 50MAX that were permitted for State highway 1 are able to use the alternative route.
However there are some restrictions that are important to note:
HPMVs including 50MAX are not to use the short cut of Anglesea Street / Boyce Street, at Renwick to get between SH63 and SH6
HPMVs including 50MAX are not to travel via SH6 through Woodbourne and into Blenheim to join SH1
A new page has been added to NZTA’s website CLICK HERE which outlines relevant information for freight operators driving between Christchurch and Picton.
There is a general travel information webpage for Canterbury and Marlborough regions, including a map showing the alternative route to State Highway 1. CLICK HERE
Any freight operator planning to travel to the South Island should check both pages for the latest updates on travel conditions.