Opening of SH1 ‘still on track’
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.