The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) expects to re-open State Highway 1 south of Kaikoura by tomorrow afternoon (Thursday 16 September). The road was closed by a massive land slip last Friday night.
Issued at 1:30pm
NZTA Canterbury State Highways Operations Manager Peter Connors says crews have worked 24 hours a day since the slip was stabilised on Monday night, and have made good progress in removing the estimated 30,000 cubic metres of debris.
“We know the importance to the region of getting this key freight route opened as soon as possible and we are working around the clock to make it happen. We’re confident that we will have at least one lane of the highway open to traffic by around 4pm tomorrow.”
Mr Connors said workers have been using diggers to remove material from near the top of the slip face since early yesterday, and have now worked their way well down the face. Caution is being exercised removing debris from the bottom of the slip, to ensure it continues to provide a safe working platform for diggers and other machinery on top. Crews will again work through the night as part of the push to get the road open by 4pm tomorrow.
A detour to Christchurch via Route 70 – the inland Kaikoura Route - is available for light vehicles, as well as buses and trucks weighing less than 22 tonnes and not towing trailers. This road is not suitable for heavier and longer vehicles, which must continue using State Highway 63 through the Wairau Valley and State Highway 7 through the Lewis Pass to travel south to Christchurch.
Mr Connors says there will be a further update tomorrow morning to confirm the timeline for re-opening the highway, and when roads blocks that are currently in place will be removed.
Up to date information on the slip can be found at www.highwayinfo.govt.nz(external link) or by phoning 0800 44 44 49.