road conditions which made driving and walking in Dunedin
treacherous in many places yesterday were re-emerging last
Police again reminded motorists to drive to the conditions as
at least four motorists crashed in black ice last night.
Single vehicle crashes on Three Mile Hill Rd and Pine Hill Rd
and two on the Northern Motorway prompted police to call for
council contractors to grit the sections of road.
No-one was hurt in the crashes, Senior Sergeant Brian Benn,
of Dunedin, said.
Ice was a factor in at least five vehicle crashes earlier
yesterday, and about 10 people visited Dunedin Hospital's
emergency department with injuries sustained after falling on
Southern District Health Board patient services executive
director Lexie O'Shea said staff treated head and fall
injuries, and lower limb fractures.
However, the icy conditions did not affect hospital staff
availability or service provision, she said.
MetService meteorologist Elke Louw said temperatures were not
as cold as forecast, with Queenstown down to -5degC instead
of the predicted -13degC, but were still below freezing in
Yesterday's respite from rain and snow was forecast to end
tonight, with more snow showers and rain expected, she said.
In preparation for the ice, Dunedin City Council contractors
spread more than 100 tonnes of grit on roads - 30 tonnes was
the average for a frosty day.
''It didn't get as low as we thought, but we did it just in
case. It's a hard thing to call,'' council roading
maintenance engineer Peter Standring said.
The main focus was getting traffic across and down the city's
hills and on to ''feeder routes''.
Grit could not be spread on everyone's streets, he said.
Use of the council's webcams was extensive, indicating more
people were checking conditions before travelling, he said.
New Zealand Transport Agency coastal Otago maintenance
contract manager Nick Rodger said grit and de-icing material
were spread on the main highways in anticipation of the
The past two days were the first real winter event of the
year so people needed to remember how to drive in such
conditions, he said.
''Grit is not a substitute for a dry road.''
Drivers needed to slow down and increase their following
distances, he said.
State Highway 87 from Outram to Middlemarch was opened about
2pm yesterday after contractors had cleared snow.
The icy conditions, combined with crashes, caused delays and
deviations to some bus routes.
Go Bus operations director Nigel Piper said while all
services operated, some drivers were unable to complete their
''Where there wasn't grit to aid traction, we didn't go into
them [streets] because of safety concerns.''
Ritchies Transport Otago regional manager Malcolm Budd said
staff checked urban runs in a four-wheel drive vehicle before
buses were released.
Hill suburb services did not start until 10am.
Many schools had a delayed start and selected city council
sports grounds were open for senior games and training.
Coldest South Island temperature -7degC at Pukaki
Overnight lows in Otago
Dunedin Int. Airport 1degC
Today: Warning issued, severe gale winds of up to
140kmh in exposed places with rain developing in the evening,
heavy in the headwaters.
Tomorrow: Snow down to 300m as cold southwesterly hits
Friday: Front clears bringing clear, frosty start to
Drivers warned of icy road conditions around the region.
Flagstaff-Whare Flat road closed due to thick snow and ice.
SH85 Kyeburn to Palmerston caution due to ice.