Work to restore and improve Kaikōura’s roads and rail after the 2016 earthquake is practically finished, Transport Minister Michael Wood announced today.
Michael Wood along with Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene, Kaikōura Mayor Craig Mackle, Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura Chair Hariata Kahu, and representatives from the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) Alliance held a ceremony to mark the departure of the Alliance from Kaikōura – exactly three years after State Highway 1 was reopened.
“I want to thank the nearly 9000 people who worked tirelessly on this project. They not only reconnected communities and businesses, they strengthened those connections,” Michael Wood said.
“Tunnels have been enlarged to help freight move easier, which will help the region’s economic recovery. The roads have been engineered up to be more resilient and safer, with wider roads and guardrails along the parts of the route to help save lives.
“The rebuild highlights the wider benefits of investing in infrastructure, which is part of our Government’s economic plan. The workers have bought more than 240,000 meals from Kaikōura cafes and restaurants, providing a boost to the local economy.
“I’d also like to thank the community for their patience and support for the rebuild. Only a small team will stay on in the New Year to complete a rockfall protection canopy south of Kaikōura – the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere,” Michael Wood said.
As part of the ceremony, a new Kaikōura town entry sign was unveiled and two tekoteko (carved pillars) were blessed. These were developed as part of an overall cultural artwork package at sites along the coast created in partnership with Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura to tell their stories of whakapapa and connection.
The NCTIR Alliance was established by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and KiwiRail along with Downer, Fulton Hogan, HEB Construction and Higgins. The $1.25 billion rebuild repaired and strengthened the road and rail network along the 60km between Clarence and Oaro, which was badly damaged in the November 2016 7.8 magnitude earthquake.