Trucks, Rail Moves Again In South


Traffic is flowing once again on State Highway 1 south of Kaikoura after the highway was closed for nearly a week ago by a massive land slip last Friday night.

NZTA’s North Canterbury Area Manager Barry Stratton says one lane of the highway was opened up at 4pm today and traffic is now using it.

The northbound lane of the road is being used KiwiRail for a temporary rail line. This is necessary to allow further work on stabilising the slip to be carried out.

“While a single lane is operating there will be delays and we ask for motorist to be patient with Stop-Go” sign operators controlling traffic flows. There could be delays of up to half an hour as work continues on clearing and stabilising one of the biggest land slips to close a state highway in recent times.”

KiwiRail Chief Executive Jim Quinn said additional trains would run tonight to help speed up the flow of essential goods into Christchurch.

“With the disruption of the past week we’re very aware of the need to keep freight moving and have been working closely with our customers to get their goods into Christchurch,” Jim Quinn said.

“They’ve been patient as we’ve worked around the clock to clear the slip and get freight moving by rail again.

“We expect to run about 14 trains over the next 24 hours - almost double the number we’d usually have.

By Monday we’ll be back to normal and able to provide our customers with their regular services.

“Over the week, we moved about 150 containers by road between Blenheim and Christchurch. To keep the flow of freight moving south, we went to 24 hour working at our Spring Creek yard near Blenheim. That meant more noise and lights for those people living nearby but they’ve been very understanding of what we’re doing and why it was important to get those goods into Christchurch.”

The TranzCoastal passenger service was also disrupted by the slip, although it ran as a bus service today and the full service will be running again tomorrow.

KiwiRail staff will continue to work overnight at the slip site to improve the condition of the track. Currently the line is temporarily on what was the northbound lane of the State Highway. Traffic management will be in place as the road and rail will be closer than usual and work will continue to stabilise the slip itself.

Jim Quinn thanked both road and rail users for their patience in advance as work continued at the site. “This has been a massive slip and there is still work to do. We’ll continue to work closely with New Zealand Transport Agency to manage traffic at the site and to stabilise the slip.”

NZTA’sBarry Stratton says contractors will continue working to clear and stabilise the slip until both lanes of the highway are open. He said the NZTA’s contractors and others helping with the operation have done a great job in opening one lane of the highway in the time they have given the share size of the slip they are dealing with.





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