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Kaikoura earthquake update


This weekly bulletin is to give you the latest update on works happening to assist the recovery of road and rail routes damaged by the Hurunui/Kaikoura earthquakes in November 2016. The bulletin is provided by the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery – an alliance representing NZ Transport Agency and KiwiRail, on behalf of Government.


Restoring full access on State Highway 1 north of Kaikoura will be a huge job that will take some time to complete. The scale and the complexity of the slips on State Highway 1 are unprecedented in New Zealand, and the task ahead of us is huge, but the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) alliance is aiming to have SH1 north of Kaikoura fully open by the end of 2017.

More than 100 technical designers are now based in Christchurch, working on the repair solution for each of the sites. This team is looking at whether the road and rail networks need to be repaired, rebuilt or realigned to create networks that are safe and resilient and keep everyone better connected in the future. This is a big job and the number of designers is expected to double.

This design and planning work is critical to enable us to co-ordinate the road and rail repairs and make rapid progress once we get onsite. Our teams are working as hard and fast as they can to get the transport networks re-opened by the end of this year.

Our programme of work will ensure we protect the environmental and cultural values in each of the areas.


Our focus has been on re-connecting the road and rail links from Kaikoura to Picton which provide critical transport routes for freight and tourism industries to Kaikoura as well as vital access for many local communities positioned between Christchurch and Picton.

Latest update:

• Work continued this week making safe the slips to the north of Kaikoura ready for removal.

• Helicopter sluicing has continued on four of the nine large slips to the north of Kaikoura.

• Up to nine helicopters are dropping more than one million litres of sea water on these slips each day to wash loose rock and material down the slip face and into the sea.

• This work is critical to make it safe for our crews and machinery to move on site and begin removal. It can only happen once the design work is nearing completion so the crews can make rapid progress on the site.

• Geotechnical engineers are now assessing secondary slips along this section of the route. These are smaller slips but still need to be stabilised before vehicles will be allowed back on SH1.

• NCTIR continues to meet with the community to inform them of progress and what lays ahead in this massive task.


Our focus since the earthquake has been to establish access to Kaikoura via SH1 south and Inland Road (Route 70) to reconnect the Kaikoura community and enable Kaikoura to reopen as a tourist destination.

Latest update:

• This route remains fragile and susceptible to further seismic and weather events. Our priority is to keep those people using the route safe and ensure everyone has access to safe, resilient transport connections.

• Ongoing closures and restrictions will continue along this section of the highway


as we complete the clearance of the remaining slips.

• Our crews continue to work in the Hundalees area, making this section of the highway safe and improving the road surface to enhance the travel experience, particularly tourists and buses visiting Kaikoura.


Inland Road (Route 70) is now is open 24/7 and remains a critical link for the Kaikoura community as SH1 south is closed during darkness for safety reasons.

Latest update:

• Crews remain onsite carrying out other road repairs and removing rock fall hazards, such as the Whales Back Saddle, to help keep the road open.

• Work will begin soon rebuilding almost three kilometres of the Inland Route 70 damaged in last November’s earthquake. This work will be completed before winter, along with further resealing to make the road safer.


Our focus has been on strengthening the road infrastructure on the alternate route (via Lewis Pass) to cope with the extra traffic and to improve the safety and journey time for customers. We’ve been encouraged by the good behaviour of the drivers who are for most part, driving safely and sensibly.

Latest update:

• Significant works are still required to clean up damage from last month’s storm. This will be complete within the next fortnight. The remaining work will not impact the traffic flow.

• Work is underway rebuilding three sections of SH63 which have deteriorated with increased traffic volumes on the route. A further 26 sections of the highway will be rebuilt before winter. Elsewhere along the route, the resealing programme continues. This work will make the road safer and improve the journey experience.

• Construction began this week on an emergency realignment at Silvia Flats, where river erosion is threatening SH7, near Lewis Pass. To ensure this section of road remains

safe and open for road users we are widening the existing road to move traffic away from the erosion area.


The main Southern trunk line is critical network for moving freight between Picton and Christchurch. Like the road network, NCTIR is still working through the design options and construction methodology to clear the slips safely and efficiently and to repair damaged structures and rails.

Latest update:

• Track work crews continue to repair the rail line north of Spotswood and track works continue south of Grassmere, prepping the sites for the major bridge and earthworks that are needed in the area.

• The KiwiRail bridge at Ferniehurst will be demolished this month and replaced with a lighter temporary bridge. This will enable rail crews to access the rest of the track and complete repairs on other parts of the rail network before a new permanent bridge is built.


Our focus has been to reinstate a safe functioning Kaikoura harbour. The harbour provides for the tourism and fishery industries, which is critical to Kaikoura.

Latest update:

• Good progressing is being made to lower the floor of the seabed at South Bay Harbour enabling vessels to use the harbour at all tides.

• About 5000 cubic metres of material has already been removed from the seabed.


We are committed to keeping you up-to-date with the latest information about what is happening on the road and rail network. We are making progress all the time – and weather conditions and works mean that roads may have to be closed at short notice. We have established a range of ways you can find out what you can expect is happening in your area so please check these regularly for the latest information to help you plan your travel.


• These bulletins are weekly with the latest on what’s happened this week and what you can expect coming up.

• Today we launch a new website- www.nzta.govt.nz/kaikoura-earthquake-response that will give you the latest information such as:

• what is happening with the road and rail network

• the most up-to-date information on road closures and travel information; and

• schedule of community meetings.

• media releases

• to attend one of the community meetings or

• following us on Facebook:


You can also send an email with specific questions to info@nctir.com

© Scoop Media

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