Open­ing of SH1 ‘still on track’

Kaikoura Star - - OUT & ABOUT - MICHAEL HAY­WARD

Wet weather may have stopped the freight trains, but au­thor­i­ties are con­fi­dent the South Is­land’s key road will re­open this year.

New Zealand Trans­port Agency earth­quake re­cov­ery man­ager Tim Crow said the earth­quake re­pairs re­mained ‘‘on track to re-open State High­way 1 in De­cem­ber’’.

Crow said sev­eral slips came down on both the In­land Route 70 and SH1 to the north and south of Kaiko¯ura this week.

‘‘Crews have worked around the clock to clear loose de­bris and rock falls across the whole net­work. ‘‘[They] were able to re­move the slip ma­te­rial and con­tinue with con­struc­tion work by late Wed­nes­day.’’

Con­crete was made at the Ha­puku River mouth be­fore be­ing trucked to sites such as Iron­gate and Ohau Point to be packed be­hind seawall blocks for the road to be built on.

Sig­nif­i­cant re­pairs were un­der way at the Clarence River Bridge, which sus­tained sig­nif­i­cant earth­quake dam­age.

Ear­lier this week, flood­ing at the Iron­gate Stream north of Kaiko¯ura halted es­sen­tial re­pair work on a bridge as no work­ers were al­lowed on the site.

‘‘The main is­sue is the de­lay to get back to build­ing this bridge when ev­ery day counts in the lead-up to Christ­mas,’’ an NZTA spokes­woman said.

She said struc­tural work to the bridge re­mained in­tact and no ma­chin­ery was dam­aged.

Heavy rain stalled rail ser­vices on the Main North Line, be­tween Pic­ton and Christchurch. It closed on Oc­to­ber 7 af­ter three ma­jor slips came down over the rail­way line and high­way.

Ki­wiRail be­gan run­ning freight trains on the line on Septem­ber 15. It aimed to run two trains ev­ery week­night, but weather meant only 14 trains made the jour­ney so far.

MetSer­vice said the Kaiko¯ura area had re­ceived rain­fall ‘‘well above’’ the norm for Oc­to­ber.

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