Spring/summer earthquake rebuild work programme ramps up south of Kaikoura - highway delays several places


People heading to and from Kaikoura via the Hundalees and SH1 or the inland road (Route 70) via Waiau/Mt Lyford, or to Hanmer Springs in coming days and weeks need to build in some extra time.

The North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) alliance’s spring/summer work programme is building up and some essential safety projects are being completed.

“The NCTIR team and the NZ Transport Agency want to have these key routes in as good condition as possible by the end of this year, when the highway south and north of Kaikoura will be reopened,” says Transport Agency Journey Manager Tresca Forrester.

“We will have one-hour delays at the Conway Bluff, around 15km north of Mt Lyford, part of the inland road into Kaikoura from this Friday through to Monday while blasting is underway followed by abseilers scaling the cliffs and removing loose rock. This is expected to be the final part of this three week project which has been worked on only on the days State Highway 1 has been open to traffic.

“There is also work coming up in the Hundalees south of Oaro as well as ongoing work between Goose Bay and Peketa on the edge of Kaikoura which will add up to 45 minutes to the SH1 southern route into Kaikoura, (open Friday through to Mondays, daylight hours).

The current delays of up to 20 minutes on the highway into Hanmer Springs at the Waiau Ferry Bluff will continue to around the end of September for the rock wall stabilisation work to be completed.

“Whereever possible, NCTIR is co-ordinating its work to minimise the impact on road users and communities. As some earthquake work is completed, that’s the signal for other work to begin. We thank all the people living and working along these routes for their patience while these changes are underway.”

Blasting and scaling Conway Bluff, 15 km north of Mt Lyford, Route 70, 18-21 August

NCTIR crews are blasting from midday Friday (18 August) throughout the afternoon to remove loose and unstable rock on the rock face. Drivers will be delayed for up to an hour at each end of Conway Bluff. Following the blasting, abseilers will be sluicing and scaling to remove loose rock to around Monday afternoon. This is expected to be the final stage of three weeks of work stabilising this cliff face.

Over these four days, Friday to Monday, the road will open on the hour 7am-6pm with a one-lane stop/go system to clear traffic. If the weather is wet, this may extend the time it takes to complete this work.

Waiau Ferry Bluff – main Hanmer Springs road (SH7a) turnoff – scaling work continues to end of September

This complex bluff has had significant rock fall since the earthquake and subsequent wet weather. NCTIR is stabilising the cliffs by scaling the loose materials, drilling in rock bolts and attaching mesh to protect road users. Drivers’ access is being controlled with a one lane stop/go with up to 20 minute delays.  This work is likely to continue to the end of September.

The Hundalees – SH1 South, hills between Parnassus and Oaro

There is a significant amount of work to repair this stretch of State Highway 1 between now and Christmas, says Ms Forrester. “From next week, 21 August, two sites are being set up for a crane which will install large steel beams and timber retaining walls behind the damaged gabion retaining walls. These in turn support the highway.”

During this initial phase, a one-lane stop/go will be used for traffic with up to 20 minutes delay. Once the crane starts working in this tight road space, there will likely be further delays.

Ms Forrester noted that there are also delays to the north of these sites between Goose Bay and Peketa as the slip which came down at Easter is made safe and the road realignment completed.

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