Monday 20 March
SH1 south of Kaikoura will be closed to all traffic for eight days from 8pm on Sunday 26 March to 7am on Tuesday 4 April.
This is to enable emergency slip face stabilisation work to be carried out. This work has become more critical following the recent heavy rain which has closed the road for some days.
New slips along the route have meant we have repeatedly had to close the highway, disrupting travel. This work will make the route more reliable.
The closure will allow the removal of loose rock and debris from 12 slips between Goose Bay and Peketa, improving safety and helping to reduce closures along this section of the highway during winter.
Kaikoura will remain open and accessible by Inland Route 70. Road works are being carried out along this route to ensure it is in the best possible condition before the start of winter so everyone is asked to take extra care and allow plenty of time for their journey.
Friday 10 February
Excavators have moved on site and work will begin next week clearing the large slips on State Highway 1 to the north of Kaikoura.
During the last two months, millions of litres of water has been dropped on the slips by helicopter, washing loose material off the slip faces and making these safe for machinery and workers to now move on-site. Extensive planning work during this time will ensure rapid progress is made with removal of the slips.
Equipment and crews will be working both from the north and south to clear the slips and make each site safe for work to begin repairing, realigning and rebuilding the road and rail corridors.
Equipment is now on-site at Irongate, about 1km north of Blue Duck Road, and at the slip site 300m north of Ohau Point. It is expected to take about three weeks to clear the material from the Irongate slip and make it safe to build an access road around the site. This will then enable the excavator to move north, building access tracks around three other slips to reach Ohau Point.
Construction of the tracks will open up some limited access for residents at Rakautara, who have been isolated between the slips since November.
Slip clearance is also expected to get underway within the next few weeks at Ohau Point, one of the biggest and most complex of the nine significant slips along this section of SH1. Clearance of this slip will initially be carried out by two remote-controlled diggers, because the slips remain too unstable and dangerous for workers to be on-site at this stage.
Clearing the slips and re-opening State Highway 1 between Picton and Christchurch remains the Government’s number one priority in getting the road and rail corridors fully re-opened by the end of this year.
Helicopter sluicing will continue on the remainder of the large slips, making these safe for clearance work to begin as soon as practical.
Friday 10 February
Two new temporary bridges were opened on the alternate route yesterday between Picton and Christchurch to improve safety and reduce travel times.
The new Bailey bridges (temporary steel structures) have been installed alongside permanent one-way bridges at Upper Buller and Homestead Creek, on State Highway 63 west of St Arnaud, allowing traffic to flow safely in both directions at all times.
These bridges will help eliminate delays for travellers from waiting to use the single-lane bridges at these two locations, keeping everyone moving.
The alternate route (through Lewis Pass) has been coping with a significant increase in traffic volumes since the November 14 Kaikoura earthquake. This has put pressure on the network. Providing duplicate bridges at these locations, will help improve the journey for everyone using the highway.
A third Bailey bridge is being installed at Speargrass Creek. This is expected to open later this month.