Cabinet has agreed to reinstate the coastal route to Kaikoura and will provide additional funding to speed up the process, Transport Minister Simon Bridges has announced.
The existing State Highway 1 and rail corridor along the coastal route to the north and south of Kaikoura will be rebuilt, with additional improvements to increase safety and resilience.
“Since the day of the earthquake, restoring access to Kaikoura has been our number one priority. Agreeing to restore the coastal route demonstrates our ongoing commitment to getting this region back on its feet as quickly as possible,” Mr Bridges says.
“To provide certainty, the Crown will fund the work required. Exact costs are still being determined, but the current estimate is between $1.4 billion and $2 billion.
“In addition, emergency legislation passed through Parliament last week will cut through red tape, and ensure repairs to the existing route can be accelerated.”
An Order in Council is currently being prepared that will accelerate the reinstatement of State Highway 1 north and south of Kaikōura.
Mr Bridges says that even with an accelerated process, there is a long way to go.
“The precise work required to repair the route is still under investigation and it will be a very complex job. However, the Government is confident that limited access via the coastal route can be restored in about 12 months.
“Rebuilding a stronger, more resilient coastal route will give Kaikoura residents the security of a second connection to the rest of the South Island."
The NZ Transport Agency will repair and maintain the road for vehicles travelling through the Springs Junction and Lewis Pass route over the weeks and months ahead.
The Transport Agency will also work with local government to repair and maintain the Kaikoura emergency access route, and bring other roads back into service in the leadup to Christmas.