Initial assessments of portions of the state highway network in and around Christchurch are underway, with possible closures or detours likely.
Contractors have reported significant damage to the control building at the Lyttelton Tunnel, and the tunnel has been closed so that a thorough inspection can be made to assess the scope of any damage to the tunnel structure. The tunnel will be re-opened for use by emergency vehicles as soon as its safe use can be confirmed.
The Northern Motorway out of Christchurch appears not to have sustained major damage, but the on-ramp at Chaney's Rd is closed until further notice.
Key bridges on State Highway 1 over the Ashburton and Rakaia Rivers to the south of Christchurch and across the Waimakariri River north of Christchurch are operational, and the earthquake does not appear to have had any impact on state highways on the West Coast or the Otago and Southland regions.
There are reports of major damage to local roads in the city, as well as liquefaction and surface flooding.
NZTA staff have been evacuated from both of the agency’s premises in Christchurch, and staff from the NZTA’s Dunedin office are on standby to assist with inspections of highway infrastructure if required. Assessments of bridges and other structures on the state highway network will continue throughout the week, and new information will be provided as it becomes available.
The NZTA advises motorists to limit travel to essential trips and to use extreme caution when driving until further notice.
Information on earthquake damage to state highways in Canterbury will be regularly updated on www.highwayinfo.govt.nz(external link) or is available by phoning 0800 44 44 49.
For more information please contact:
Media Manager - NZTA
T DDI 04 894 6285
M 021 276 3222