The NZ Transport Agency has confirmed that SH1 north of Kaikoura will open during the afternoon of Friday 15 December, connecting the coastal corridor for the first time since November 2016.
NZ Transport Agency Earthquake Recovery Manager Tim Crow says that while the re-opening of the road is an exciting time for travellers, the Transport Agency encourages sightseers keen to see the new road to plan a trip for a later date.
“While we understand people across New Zealand will be interested in seeing the work that’s been done to the highway, the opening day and the following week will not be the best time to travel the route to view the construction activity which is still underway. It’s a unique situation which makes it difficult to project exact traffic volumes but we expect the road to be very busy. We want to ensure we can keep traffic moving through local communities safely, and allow people to reach Kaikoura and other destinations as easily as possible.
“Our road crews will be working up until the last minute to get the road ready and we’ll still be moving trucks and equipment off site on December 15 before the road re-opens.”
SH1 south of Kaikoura will re-open on Friday 15 December at 7am as usual.
When the road north of Kaikoura re-opens several sites will still be under construction. There will still be some unsealed surfaces, lane closures, speed restrictions and stop/go traffic controls. There will be delays at key spots along the route: Ohau Point has a new seawall and road realignment, Irongate has a new overbridge and road realignment, and between Goose Bay and Peketa there is ongoing cliff face resilience and road rebuilding work.
Mr Crow says anyone planning a trip should allow plenty of time to get to their destination safely in case of unexpected delays.
“It is important people know where to access real-time travel information to get accurate journey times. Our website – www.nzta.govt.nz/p2c – is the hub for all information on SH1 and the alternate route. We recommend checking it at least two hours before you travel and at key decision points along the route. Electronic signs displaying real-time information will also be positioned along SH1.”
There are two areas on SH1 that will be closed overnight as a safety precaution. Anyone travelling through will need to allow enough time to clear these areas before they shut at 8.30pm. The section north of Kaikoura which will be closed at night is between Clarence and Mangamaunu. South of Kaikoura the night closure will be between Goose Bay and Peketa. Both areas will re-open each day at 7am once crews have completed a safety check.
Most vehicles can use SH1 when it re-opens, this includes cars, motorcyclists, campervans, cyclists, buses and coaches, and trucks (although restrictions apply on height and weight).
On 15 December there will be a community event in Kaikoura at 8am to thank locals for their support and to celebrate the re-opening of SH1 later in the day.
For more information, visit www.nzta.govt.nz/p2c