The NZ Transport Agency has reopened State Highway 1 (SH1) north of Kaikōura - one year, one month and one day after the Kaikōura earthquake in November 2016, allowing people to drive through from Picton to Christchurch on the coastal highway route.
NZ Transport Agency Earthquake Recovery Manager Tim Crow says today is a fantastic achievement, and a testament to the hard work of 1700 crew members on the ground and the great team work of the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) alliance partners – the NZ Transport Agency, KiwiRail, Fulton Hogan, Downer, HEB Construction and Higgins.
“Everyone has worked extremely hard under challenging conditions at times. It’s been a real partnership that has delivered the key milestones in record time - the rail reopening in September, the harbour reopening in November and now the road. All of the team members involved should feel very proud of their efforts,” Mr Crow says.
Mr Crow says the NCTIR Alliance would also like to thank the community for their patience over the last year while work was underway.
“It’s also been a long, tough year for the communities along the route. They have been very supportive and welcomed our workers in to fix the transport corridor, while dealing with uncertainties about their own homes, jobs and access to family and friends. We’re delighted they can use the road in time for the holiday season.”
Mr Crow says the Transport Agency expects the road to be busy over the next few weeks.
“Anyone planning a trip should allow plenty of time to get to their destination safely in case of unexpected delays. We need to keep traffic moving safely, and allow people to reach Kaikōura and other destinations as easily as possible, so if you’re planning a sightseeing tour to view the road re-build, please consider waiting a few weeks.
“The number of worksites will reduce from now until January with most of the crew taking a well-deserved Christmas break but we’ll be back in full force on 8 January to finish the job.”
Work will continue in 2018 to bring State Highway 1 back to its pre-earthquake condition and complete a package of safety and amenity improvements on the 60km section of State Highway 1 between Clarence and Oaro.
For real-time travel information and details on SH1 and the alternate route via Lewis Pass go to www.nzta.govt.nz/p2c(external link) or call 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49). The Transport Agency recommends drivers check information at least two hours before travel and at key decision points along the route. Electronic signs displaying real-time information will also be positioned at key locations.
The NCTIR team has produced the video below providing a behind the scenes look at the massive effort to re-connect communities and re-open the road following the November 14, 2016 earthquake: