Summary of NZ Transport Agency safety improvement work on Lewis Pass/ Murchison alternate State Highway

  • 08 Dec 2016


Transport Agency crews are working hard in the lead up to Christmas to repair and reseal parts of the new alternate State Highway network – 7,65, 6 and 63 via Murchison and St Arnaud connecting Picton to Christchurch.

More work will continue in the New Year – sealing many kilometres to ensure the highway is safe for its heavier duty purpose.

The SH63 St Arnaud section will have multiple sites being repaired and resealed in the lead in to Christmas and in the New Year, making the road safer and wider in some places. Drivers also need to be prepared to slow down at these places and build in extra time for short delays.

Where work is more extensive, and long delays will be needed, the Transport Agency will advertise this in advance wherever possible so road users can decide to use this route or perhaps take the Nelson SH6 route.

There are more crews on the network than ever before to ensure that any potholes that develop, or any other defects, are repaired promptly. The maintenance programme will continue.

Other safety improvements planned:

More places for trucks to park – the locations of these is still being finalised, working with the freight operators.

Upgraded road markings and more signage: This work is underway.

Road widening at critical points.


Construction of additional slow vehicle bays – locations still being finalised.


Safety and travel patterns across the South Island network are being closely monitored so that plans can be adjusted if new travel patterns develop.


Technology on the new state highway Lewis Pass route is being upgraded in line with what normally occurs on the State Highway 1 system.

General advice for road users:

The Transport Agency and the Canterbury Police Highway Patrol are both reminding road users to drive with caution on the Lewis Pass alternate highway. It will remain the main highway for some time while State Highway 1 has slips cleared.

Overtaking a truck or campervan on the route is dangerous in many places, will not make the journey any faster and only contribute to increased stress and danger for everyone.

There is a lot more freight on parts of the route so drivers need to accept it will be a slower trip for their own and everyone else’s safety.


The best advice is to be patient and accept that it will take at least seven-and-a-half hours and be prepared for short delays over the summer.


Stop for a break or rest: Springs Junction, Amberley, Culverden, Murchison and Hanmer Springs.

Drive well rested and share the driving if you can.


There will be increased Police patrols along the route. If road users are in immediate danger, call 111. To report non urgent road-related matters call *555.

Lee Wright

Journey Manager

Canterbury/West Coast

Highways and Network