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Regular closures of State Highway 1 south of Kaikoura from next week as rebuild of road and rail corridor gains steam

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A regular weekly schedule of open and closed days for State Highway 1 south of Kaikoura will take effect from next week as work crews from the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) team move into a new phase of work on the rebuild of the road and rail corridor.

“This next phase of work involves raising the realigned road by up to two metres at its lowest point and completing further works to make this diversion more reliable, in preparation for the seawall construction,” says Transport Agency Earthquake Recovery Manager Steve Mutton.

“We also need to work on mitigation measures for rockfall management along this section of highway, around the slip and for further reinstatement of the Main North Rail Line. In order for crews to get the job done as quickly and safely as possible, the highway will need to be closed to traffic on a regular basis.”

From next week, the highway will be open during daylight hours on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays, and closed to traffic on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Morning and evening escorted convoys for residents will be available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The Waiau/Mt Lyford Inland Route 70 will remain open to provide access to and from Kaikoura when the state highway is closed. The regular open/closed schedule is expected to remain in place until the end of September while work progresses to rebuild and repair the highway and rail line.

Mr Mutton says the NCTIR team has been listening to residents and others affected by the closure of the state highway, and the rollout of the regular open/closed schedule aims to provide as much certainty as possible to allow people to plan their journeys to and from Kaikoura while work is carried out on the road and rail corridor.

“We know how important this link is not only for Kaikoura and people living at Oaro and Goose Bay, but from Waipara through to the Hurunui District and Cheviot. It is also a key freight and tourist route for the region.

“We’re hoping that this new schedule will allow as many people as possible to travel to and from Kaikoura by the most direct route from Christchurch for weekend trips and on Monday and Fridays, while allowing work crews to get stuck into the heavy lifting which they need to do in the middle of the week. This work will involve heavy machinery, with crews operating in a narrow work area, and it is also affected by tides and weather.”

Mr Mutton says restoration and reconstruction work will continue seven days a week, so drivers should still expect short delays with stop/go controls in place at work sites on days when the highway is open to traffic.

State Highway 1 south of Kaikoura was reopened before the Queen’s Birthday weekend, for travel during daylight hours, 7am to 6pm. The highway had been closed since Easter after a major slip triggered by severe weather covered the highway and rail line south of Peketa. The highway and rail line have now been temporarily realigned for 300 metres over the beach area, out from the slip.  

The new regular open/closed schedule will take effect from Tuesday, 20 June and will run through to the end of September.

The Transport Agency, KiwiRail and the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery alliance thank all drivers who are affected by these closures for their patience as work continues to reconnect communities along the coast. 

Summary of the new open/closed schedule for SH1, south of Kaikoura:

  • SH1 south of Kaikoura will be open from 7am to 6pm daily, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday to all traffic.
  • SH1 south of Kaikoura will be closed Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday with convoys for locals only at 7am and 6pm. The first road closure will start on Tuesday, 20 June.
  • Road users will need to use the Waiau/ Mt Lyford Inland Route 70 during the weekday closure times and overnight when the state highway is closed.
  • Active traffic management with be in place when the highway is open so delays should be expected on the approach to Kaikoura on these days.
  • As always, this work is dependent on weather and seismic conditions and in the event it needs to change or close outside these times, the NCTIR team will provide information as quickly as possible.
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