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June-August 2017 – transition from earthquake response to rebuild


SH1: Rebuilding the road - a coordinated approach

Rebuilding the road - a coordinated approachBy July 2017 five of the nine large landslides north of Kaikoura had been cleared.

The cliffs south of Kaikoura proved to be more fragile than anticipated, with additional land and mud slides occurring during bad weather.

Night works under lights were starting to take place (when safe to do so) to ease day congestion in the busy, narrow construction zone.

All road works undertaken by NCTIR were coordinated to minimise disruption to road users and communities along the route.  Innovative approaches have seen road and rail lines temporarily realigned to reopen the transport corridor as quickly as possible.

SH1: Improving the road

At the end of July 2017, Transport Minister Simon Bridges announced a $231 million funding package to improve the 60km section of State Highway 1 between Clarence and Oaro. This improvement package will ultimately increase safety, resilience, reliability, access and amenity and provide a higher level of service on the road for people living in the area and visitors to the region.

This improvement work is not expected to have any impact on the re-opening of SH1 by the end of 2017. This work will be delivered by NCTIR along with the reinstatement work in 2018.

The improvements programme includes:

  • Infrastructure changes including wider shoulders, additional safety barriers, more passing opportunities, and improved access and stopping areas
  • Safe and appropriate speed limits (80 km/hr) in the winding sections where operating speeds are already slower and the speed limit reinforces safer driver behaviour
  • A separated cycle/walk facility between Okiwi Bay and Mangamaunu to provide opportunities for people to enjoy the iconic coastline at a more leisurely pace
  • A shared path and enhanced stopping areas which support tourism and economic recovery, with new digital technologies used to provide safety messages and ‘tell the story’ of the coastal corridor to visitors.

The alternate Picton to Christchurch route

The alternate Picton to Christchurch routeAs part of the $60 million improvements programme, a range of activities was undertaken to prepare the alternate Picton to Christchurch route through Lewis Pass, to safely cope with higher volumes of traffic this winter.

Speeds were reduced in high risk areas as part of the Safe Roads programme, with a strong Police presence on the route to help manage driver behaviour.

Other measures taken to improve safety along the route include:

  • A short range cell site was installed at Boyle River in April to improve mobile phone coverage. Traffic signals were installed on the one-lane Maruia Bridge to ensure travellers in both directions could cross safely.
  • Six radars measuring traffic volume and speed were installed along the route. These radars also differentiate between vehicle sizes and can determine how many cars or larger vehicles are travelling at any given time, helping feed in to journey time information.
  • Webcams were installed in the above areas along with Waipara and Blenheim. The images are used on social media to provide travel updates, especially during snow events when closures are necessary.
  • A safety campaign focused on driving in winter conditions rolled out by March 2017 to help mitigate the risk from extreme weather and road closures.
  • A winter maintenance programme was also completed.

Rail – The first work trains

The first work trainsIn early June 2017, the first train travelled the Main North Line from Christchurch to Kaikoura since the earthquake. 

More than 40 percent of the work to reopen the Main North Line was completed by May 2017. Work trains and other rail vehicles started to use the line to help with the rebuild of SH1.

Getting the work trains to Kaikoura  meant resources could be stored in Kaikoura, enabling the pace of  reconstruction to ramp up and help not only KiwiRail with its rebuild work, but also assist with the reinstatement of SH1 by bringing materials to worksites along the route and moving material north of Ohau Point for the road reconstruction.

Kaikoura marina and harbour – work ramping up

Kaikoura marina and harbour - work ramping upWork on the Coastguard ramp and surrounding channel and approach was completed in July 2017.  In the 12 months to June 2017, Coastguard Kaikoura volunteers gave 2851 hours, responded to 11 call-outs and safely brought home 20 people. The new ramp improved their response time by between seven and 15 minutes.

By expanding the retaining wall against the rock groyne, it has been possible to extend the facilities. The final designs for the Kaikoura marina includes space for four large berths and a jetty where cruise ship tenders can berth. The tender jetty will enable cruise ship tenders to moor against the harbour’s promenade edge, enabling passengers to enjoy Kaikoura’s amenities and attractions.