Canterbury Highways Generally OK


Initial inspections show that Canterbury State Highways appear to have held up well after this morning’s major earthquake, but the NZTA is urging people to only travel if it’s essential.

The NZTA says while there has been some damage to a number of state highways, only two closures have thus far been required. Slips and drop outs in the road surface along with some earth movement around bridge abutments are the major problem at this stage.

NZTA Canterbury State Highways Operations Manager Peter Connors says this has lead to the closure of State Highway 77 between Metheven and Windwhistle and Mid Canterbury. These problems are also affecting State Highway 75 from Taipapu to Kaituna in the Banks Peninsula area near Christchurch, but it remains open. Signposted detours are available for highways that have been closed because of earth quake damage.

“Checks of key state highway structures in the region show that overall they have stood up to this quake remarkably well. Key bridges on the State Highway 1 over the Ashburton and Rakaia Rivers to the south of Christchurch and across the Waimakariri River north of Christchurch are operational. The Chaney’s Road on Ramp on to State Highway 1 north of Christchurch is closed.”

Peter Connors says NZTA contractors are dealing with earthquake related damage across the region including State Highway 71 and State Highway 74 where contractors are working to remove humps in the road. The earthquake does not appear to have had any impact on State Highways on the West Coast.

Mr Connors said motorists should limit trips to essential travel, and extreme caution should be exercised throughout the area until a full assessment has been completed.

The same message now appl;ies to Auckland motorists but not because of an Act of God.

Workers were moving into the Newmarket Viaduct area to start the 36 hour work closure (details here).
I drove through there at 3pm and there were plenty of cars!




  1. Anthony M says:

    Hmmm, i hope that they checked carefully, because the water mains can break, and the true damage wounldn’t be known until it dries leaving behind a gaping underground hole, the driver then goes over and


  2. Joshua says:

    Anthony M, that is one of the major checks they are doing throughout Canterbury at the moment, Water-mains will be pressure tested while storm-water drains and Wastewater drains will all need to be checked via cctv inspections. This would have or will be checked on all State Highways by either NZTA or the City Council.

    I guess the incident in Christchurch shows how important it is for us to make sure our structures are designed for Earthquake loadings, as this has mitigated damage throughout the Canterbury area, Newmarket Viaduct is a good example of the important infrastructure projects that help us withstand fatalities in such events.


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