2 Mar 2018

SH1 through Kaikōura reopened

1:18 pm on 2 March 2018

State Highway One north and south of Kaikōura re-opened this morning after being badly hit by Cyclone Gita and the Transport Agency says traffic is flowing smoothly.

The cyclone brought down hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of rock and soil last week, blocking the road in 60 places.

One of the landslips that blocked SH1 around Kaikōura after Cyclone Gita.

One of the landslips that blocked SH1 around Kaikōura after Cyclone Gita. Photo: NZTA

The road had only recently re-opened after a year of repairs were needed following a 7.8-magnitude earthquake in November 2016.

The road was re-opened today for daylight hours between 7.30am and 7.30pm.

A Transport Agency spokesperson said there were queues of cars and trucks this morning as motorists waited.

The NZTA warned motorists could expect significant delays as long stretches of the highway would be reduced to one lane.

But the travel time between Christchurch and Picton was about four hours and 50 minutes, which is only 10-20 minutes longer than normal.

Kaikōura business owners were looking forward to having the main access roads into the tourist town back open.

Gateway motel lodge co-owner Kathy Christian said the road closure had especially hurt retailers who relied on passing traffic.

"It definitely has affected the town, in the respect that we're not getting the through-traffic. We have had a few cancellations because it's too far to travel from the north particularly."

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