Kaikoura quake: Public access to Kaikoura a priority - NZTA

  • 30/11/2016
The November 14 quake cut off State Highway 1 to the north and to the south of Kaikōura (Getty)
The November 14 quake cut off State Highway 1 to the north and to the south of Kaikōura (Getty)

More regular opportunities for supervised travel on the only road in and out of earthquake-hit Kaikōura are being scheduled, the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) says.

Last Friday, a convoy of private vehicles successfully left the coastal town via Inland Road.

Canterbury Civil Defence has formally transferred control of the route to the NZTA, which says increasing public access to the road is a priority.

Regional performance manager Pete Connors says the agency has established a daily schedule and there is a website and phone number that people can use to register to travel.

For safety reasons, only those who register will be able to travel during the scheduled times.

Kaikōura Civil Defence said in a Facebook post the first group of vehicles can use the road on Wednesday; vehicles can travel into the town in the morning, and depart from 2pm.

Mr Connors said 25 crews have been out along the 95km-long road clearing slips, inspecting bridges and getting it to a state where it can be used safely.

He said the road remained fragile and hazardous, but good progress was being made and controlled access for military vehicles and essential services had been established.

The November 14 quake cut off State Highway 1 to the north and to the south of Kaikōura.

Mr Connors said contractors were working hard to re-open SH1 to the south.

Kaikoura quake: Public access to Kaikoura a priority - NZTA

(NZTA)

He said the aim was to have controlled, single-lane access for residents and essential services by mid-December, depending on weather and any further earthquakes.

Kaikōura MP Stuart Smith told the Paul Henry Show on Wednesday that construction company Downer Group have made "fantastic progress" in the re-opening of the roads into Kaikōura.

"I'd have to take my hat off to Downer… they've really pulled out all stops and they're to be congratulated," Mr Smith said.

While some work had been carried out on SH1 north of Kaikōura, the risk of on-going large aftershocks made conditions too unstable to allow engineers to carry out detailed inspections.

NZN / Newshub.