On 20 April 2018, SH1 reopened for night-time travel for the first time since the November 2016 earthquake – making it open for business 24/7 once again.
Critical safety work on the coastal corridor was complete. However, work to fully restore the transport networks and make them safe and resilient for the future continued.
On 15 December 2017, the isolated communities north of Kaikoura were finally reconnected; Kaikoura and Blenheim residents could visit each other using the restored highway; freight companies could consider another route to link Picton and Christchurch; domestic and international visitors could add the coastal corridor to their itineraries again.
Reopening the road in time for the busy holiday season was a much-needed boost for the local community. It was 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.
When the road reopened several sites were still under construction. There were some unsealed surfaces, lane closures, speed restrictions and stop/go traffic controls. Ohau Point had a new seawall and road realignment, Irongate had a new overbridge and road realignment, and between Goose Bay and Peketa there was ongoing cliff face resilience and road rebuilding work.
Two areas on SH1 remained closed overnight from 8.30pm as a safety precaution. North of Kaikoura this was between Clarence and Mangamaunu and South of Kaikoura this was between Goose Bay and Peketa. Both areas reopened each day at 7am once crews completed a safety check.