Freight usage confirmed for State Highway 1 from Picton to Christchurch

4 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineDecember 5, 2017

The NZ Transport Agency has confirmed that High Productivity Motor Vehicles (HPMVs) and overweight vehicles/loads (with a maximum height of 4.25m) which hold the relevant permits will be able to travel on State Highway 1 (SH1) between Picton and Christchurch from 15 December when the road reopens.

NZTA earthquake recovery manager Tim Crow says that the reopened road will be able to accommodate most larger freight vehicles even though some sites will be under construction with unsealed surfaces, lane closures, speed restrictions and stop/go traffic controls at remaining works sites along the route.

“Due to the width of some of the tunnels we won‘t be able to accommodate most over-dimension vehicles and loads but most other vehicles will be able to travel SH1 if they choose. The alternate route via the Lewis Pass remains a good option for travel for all vehicles.”

Type of heavy vehicle

Can use SH1?

Any relevant information or new restrictions?

Standard heavy vehicles up to 46 tonnes GCM restricted to a height of 4.25m



HPMV (H) vehicles and 50 MAX restricted to a height of 4.25m

Yes – with relevant permit


Overweight vehicles or loads

Yes – with relevant permit

There may be additional speed restriction on overweight permits covered by a blanket addendum sent to permit holders.



Over-dimension vehicles or loads

Yes- if you fall into Category 1 and do not exceed 3.1m wide

 No if you exceed the Category 1 width limits or any other Category– must continue to use alternate route via Springs Junction.

Please note the legislated travel restrictions during the holiday period.


These can be found here:




Two sections of SH1 that were most damaged in the earthquake will be closed overnight to all vehicles as a safety precaution. North of Kaikoura the night closure is between Clarence and Mangamaunu, and the road south of Kaikoura will be closed at night between Goose Bay and Peketa. The daytime opening hours for these sections are 7am to 8.30pm. Trucks will be unable to stop in these sections during the day as there are no stopping areas.

“Many freight operators have told us they will continue to use the alternate route for the next few months due to the road‘s reliable journey time and its 24/7 operation. That will help ease demand for SH1 over the summer when we have a lot of international and domestic visitors,” Crow says.

Work on the alternative route via Lewis Pass to deliver on a $60million improvements package continues. This includes resealing, repairing and strengthening the roads; road widening through narrow or winding sections; pull-over areas and slow vehicle bays for trucks, and bailey bridges.

The journey for truck drivers on SH1 between Picton and Christchurch is expected to take an hour longer than pre-earthquake.

Operators planning to apply for new Higher Mass and Overweight permits from the NZTA this year must ensure their application is received by 13 December.

More information for freight operators can be found in the SH1 reopening FAQs here: