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Project Introduction

The North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery is an alliance representing the NZ Transport Agency and KiwiRail on behalf of government, to repair by the end of 2017 the road and rail networks between Picton and Christchurch following the November 2016 Kaikoura earthquake.

  • Estimated project dates

    Feb 2017–Dec 2017
  • Project type

    Infrastructure upgrade, Road improvements
  • Project status

    Investigation, Design and Construction

Project updates

Weekly update - 17 February
Project updates, (PDF)
Weekly update - 10 February
Project updates, (PDF)
Weekly update - 3 February
Project updates, (PDF)
Weekly update - 30 January
Project updates, (PDF)

NZ Transport Agency / KiwiRail


The 2016 Kaikōura earthquake caused significant damage to the area, closing both State Highway 1 (SH1) and the Main North Rail Line between Picton and Christchurch. This has disrupted the lives of those who live along the highway and who rely on the road and rail networks to access their homes, farms and businesses and the movement of goods to market.

The North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) has been set-up by the government under the Hurunui/Kaikōura Earthquakes Recovery Act 2016 to repair and get the road and rail networks re-opened by the end of 2017.

State Highway 1 remains closed to through-traffic from Picton to Christchurch. The highway is open between Picton and Clarence, and from Christchurch to Kaikoura during daylight hours. It remains closed between Clarence and Mangamaunu.

Road access was restored to Kaikōura before Christmas 2016, via the Inland Route 70 and on State Highway 1 south of the seaside town which is open with restrictions. The work by NCTIR includes repairing and rebuilding the networks to be more resilient and safer, helping keep everyone better connected in the future. NCTIR will also manage the upgrade of the alternate highway route between Picton and Christchurch, along State Highways 63, 6, 65 and 7 (Lewis Pass), and the Inland Road between Kaikōura and Culverden.

NCTIR is an alliance partnership between the NZ Transport Agency, KiwiRail, Fulton Hogan, Downer, HEB Construction and Higgins.

Canterbury / Marlborough travel map

Damage, recovery and repair – current snapshot

Updated: 30 January 2017

Damage to the roads

On State Highway 1, between Cheviot and Clarence, there are more than 200 sites where there have been slips, and damage to bridges, the road surface, embankments, tunnels, culverts and retaining walls. More than 700,000m3 of material was dislodged by the earthquake (that’s the volume of 280 Olympic-size swimming pools).

On the Inland Route 70, between Kaikōura and Culverden, more than 40 sites have some level of damage.

Damage to the Main North Rail Line

Along the Main North Rail Line there has been damage at 700 sites, including to the tracks, slopes, embankments, tunnels, bridges, culverts and communications systems.

Damage to four of the 20 tunnels and six of the 59 damaged bridges is major.

Freight between Blenheim and Christchurch is currently being moved by road and coastal shipping services.