The NZ Transport Agency may not have State Highway 1 south of Kaikoura reopened until next week (24 April) given the size of a large, unstable slip that came down south of Peketa at Easter Weekend.
Three diggers are lined up on the slip today feeding material to each other to reduce the top of the pyramid of material made up of soil, trees and rocks. The slope is extremely unstable and the diggers are currently only half way to the top.
“Heavy rain following Cyclone Cook brought down between 8000 and 10,000 cubic metres of material from the cliffs,” says Steve Mutton, Transport Agency Earthquake Recovery Manager.
“From the air, it appears as if the whole hillside has slumped to the ground. Sluicing helicopters, seven trucks, three excavators, two loaders and a large dump truck have been working to clear the slip, with more than 1100 cubic metres of material removed on Easter Monday.
“Today crews have continued working with excavators, climbing up to pull down loose material at the top of the slip. Crews are working dawn until dusk to make the best progress they can.”
The inland road via Culverden and Waiau (Route 70) is open 24/7 and is providing reliable access to Kaikoura.
People need to check the Transport Agency’s traffic and travel pages (external link) for updates before heading to Kaikoura at all times.
“There are electronic signs at Waipara advising if the state highway route is closed and another sign north of Cheviot. If people make it to Cheviot and find the state highway is closed, they can take the Leader Road to reconnect with the inland road via Waiau.”
The state highway remains fragile. “The state highway will be prone to short term closures for some time given the tension cracks along the cliffs created by the earthquakes, which are prone to collapse with rain and stormy weather,” says Steve Mutton.
Please check this map for updates (external link) .
Ways to find out what is happening on the highway network: