Journeys between Picton and Christchurch along SH1 through Kaikōura are slightly longer than before ex-tropical cyclone Gita inundated the coast with rain and resulting landslides and road damage.
The highway opened last Friday after nearly two weeks of concentrated slip clearance both north and south of the town, including the Hundalee Hills. Sites which had been well sluiced, scaled and strengthened since the 2016 earthquake as well as newly-built infrastructure held up well in the storm.
“Delays are concentrated within the Hundalee area north of Parnassus,” says North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) Network Operations Manager Tresca Forrester. “When traffic is busy, people could face up to 20-minute delays due to the longer work sites and the close proximity of sites. Peak times are between 11am and 4 pm daily.”
She reminded drivers that temporary speed limits are there for their safety and for all drivers to take their time, take care around crews and build in extra time for this journey.
The southern closure point outside of the open hours of 7.30 am to 7.30pm remains the SH1/Leader Rd intersection. Residents living within this soft cordon have access to their homes.
Travel time between Christchurch and Picton has been between four hours and 40 minutes and five hours but summer traffic volumes have dropped off, says Ms Forrester, to around 2,200 – 2,500 vehicles daily.
“Wet weather will still likely affect this route in future so people should check its open/ closed status before setting out.” (See www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic)
The Lewis Pass route via Waipara and Murchison remains a good alternate route to SH1.