Buses, Not Trains, Can Now Get Through


NZTA dealing with the massive slip at Kaikoura has managed to open the inland Kaikoura Route 70, previously a light vehicle detour around the massive slip on State Highway 1 near Kaikoura, but only to buses and light trucks not towing trailers.

Trains can still not get through.

NZTA’s Peter Connors says the decision to allow buses and truck that are less than 22 tonnes and not towing trailers over this route is to help speed up the movement of light freight and people to earthquake hit Canterbury. This has been hampered by the slip that has closed State Highway 1 about eight kilometres south of Kaikoura since Friday night.

“The inland Kaikoura route is not suitable for heavier and longer vehicles, which will need to continue using SH63 through the Wairau Valley and SH7 through the Lewis Pass to travel south to Christchurch.”

Mr Connors said the slip on SH1 has now stabilised sufficiently to allow work to continue in safety overnight, and the NZTA is aiming to open a single lane of the highway on Thursday.

State Highway 1- Chaney’s on-ramp has just re-opened following the completion of repairs to the road surface caused by the earthquake.

Peter Connors says this surface is unsealed so a 50km/h speed restriction will apply. Sealing work should be completed by the end of the week.

Mr Connors said State Highway 74 is now open from Travis/Frost/Anzac Drive to the intersection of Dyers Road and Bridge Street, but the section from the intersection of Bridge Street to Metro Place is closed until further notice. This is so damaged pipes across the highway essential to the operation of a waste water treatment plant can be repaired. A detour is available for all vehicles via Breezes, Cuthbert’s and Maces Roads.

The SH74 Heathcote underpass could be closed for up to week so permanent repairs can be made to potential rock fall hazards above the road.

Mr Connors says periodic closure of the Lyttelton Tunnel to allow fuel trucks through the tunnel has gone smoothly. Motorists can expect delays of up to ten minutes during these closures. The NZTA appreciates the patience shown by road users since this arrangement started last Friday.

Normally dangerous good vehicles cannot use the tunnel, but were granted a temporary exemption when earthquake damage forced the closure of their usual route over Evans Pass Road to the Port of Lyttelton.

Mr Connors said fuel and gas trucks are going through the tunnel under the supervision of Tunnel Control - one truck at a time with no other vehicles allowed in the tunnel. Too minimise disruptions for motorists there will be no closures during the peak traffic times of; 7am-9am, 12pm-1pm and 4pm-6pm. Lighter vehicles carrying dangerous goods must go via Dyers Pass between the city and the port and will not be given access to the tunnel.

Other state highways in the region currently affected by earthquake damage include:

State Highway 77 in mid-Canterbury is open with a two kilometre sign posted detour from Glentunnel to Glenroy. A slip is still moving at this site so the detour will remain for some time. Permanent repairs expected to start in the next week or so.

KiwiRail is continuing to move freight by road between Blenheim and Christchurch while the Main North Line remains closed by the slip south of Kaikoura.

Given the importance of getting goods to the people of Christchurch, KiwiRail has been working around the clock to load and move freight from its facility at Spring Creek, near Blenheim.

KiwiRail says this will continue for as long as necessary. At the same time, KiwiRail is looking at other options to supplement its ‘road bridging’ operation.

The freight being moved is general containerized goods, including food bound for supermarket shelves in Christchurch. To date, KiwiRail has transported approximately 60 containers south using up to 40 trucks.

The TranzCoastal passenger service between Picton and Christchurch has stopped given the difficulties in running a timely coach replacement service with the State Highway also closed by the slip.

Passengers are being offered the option of travel on an alternative date, or a refund on their fare. Passengers wishing to check the status of the TranzCoastal should call 0800 872468. The number is staffed 7am to 7pm both weekdays and weekends.

The TranzAlpine, which runs daily between Christchurch and Greymouth, is unaffected.





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