Vandalism to private property has forced a change in locks on the Old Snow Pole Track, near Piano Flat.
Southland District Council roading contract manager Nick Lewis said vandals were ignoring road closure notices and going to considerable lengths to break into the area.
“They are cutting through the private fences of the landowner to gain access to the closed section of the road and adjacent lands and that’s unacceptable,” he said.
“Not only are they entering an area which can be treacherous at this time of year, it is also causing significant damage to the road as well.”
The road is closed at the start of June each year for the winter months, reopening at Labour Weekend.
“It’s a track which gets very wet and muddy over winter, including snow coverage, and vehicle movements do cause a lot of damage,” Mr Lewis said.
As a result of recent incidents, a heavy steel gate located approximately 1km from Piano Flat will now be locked.
“It’s unfortunate we now need to initiate additional deterrents but we need people to respect the reasons why this road is closed, both from a protection perspective but also for the safety of the public.”