The NZTA says it has now opened the inland Kaikoura Route 70, previously a light vehicle detour around the massive slip on State Highway 1 near Kaikoura, to buses and light trucks not towing trailers.
NZTA Canterbury State Highways Operations Manager Peter Connors says the decision to allow buses and truck that are less than 22 tonnes and not towing trailers over this route is to help speed up the movement of light freight and people to earthquake hit Canterbury. This has been hampered by the slip that has closed State Highway 1 about eight kilometres south of Kaikoura since Friday night.
“The inland Kaikoura route is not suitable for heavier and longer vehicles, which will need to continue using SH63 through the Wairau Valley and SH7 through the Lewis Pass to travel south to Christchurch.”
Mr Connors said the slip on SH1 has now stabilised sufficiently to allow work to continue in safety overnight, and the NZTA is aiming to open a single lane of the highway on Thursday.
“We know the importance of re-establishing this vital freight route open to help re-build the Canterbury region after last Saturday’s earthquake and we are working around the clock to make this happen.”
Mr Connors said the NZTA was co-ordinating it’s work on the slip with Kiwirail and Environment Canterbury.
Up to date information on this slip can be found at www.highwayinfo.govt.nz or by phoning 0800 44 44 49.