The NZ Transport Agency is closing the State Highway 1 southern access into Kaikōura at 5 pm tonight after about 20 cubic metres of rock and soil fell near the highway this afternoon.
Traffic was safely diverted away from the rockfall between Rosy Morn and the Raramai Tunnel, but given the difficulties of hearing and seeing rock falling in the dark, a decision has been made to close the road at 5 pm, says Tresca Forrester, Network Operations Manager for the Transport Agency.
“The road into Kaikōura via Waiau and Mt Lyford, Route 70, will be open and from 5 pm tonight will be the only way in and out of the town.”
The highway to the north of the town has stayed closed today for the second day in a row after heavy rain caused soil to fill bunded areas with a small slip at Waipapa Bay yesterday, where the permanent road is still being constructed. It will remain closed overnight also. “Although we have made progress clearing out those overflow areas to the north, the area is now drying out after the soaking and some caution is required,” says Ms Forrester.
The next update for the State Highway 1 north and south routes to Kaikōura will be at 9.30 am Friday, 15 June. Check this link: www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/regions/11(external link)
Traffic between Picton and Christchurch should continue to use the Alternate Route via the Lewis pass and St Arnaud. Thanks to all drivers for building in extra time and taking care in slippery conditions.
For travellers between Christchurch and Picton check real time information: www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/kaikoura-earthquake-response/plan-your-journey
Important information is also shared via the Transport Agency’s official Twitter and Facebook accounts listed here: www.nzta.govt.nz/contact-us/connect-with-us
Drivers can also call 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49) to speak to the call centre team for traffic and travel information.
Check the MetService website: www.metservice.com/warnings/severe-weather-warnings(external link) for the latest severe weather warning and watches.