What is the Government doing to address challenges in delivering supplies into the area affected by the Canterbury earthquake?
As the member will be aware, an enormous slip occurred last Friday night just south of Kaikōura, blocking both State Highway 1 and the rail line. This has increased the challenge of moving supplies into Canterbury following the earthquake. The New Zealand Transport Agency, KiwiRail, and their contractors are working around the clock to clear the debris from the site. In the meantime, the inland Kaikōura route 70 can be used by light vehicles, buses, and light trucks not towing trailers. All other traffic is using State Highway 63 through the Wairau Valley and State Highway 7 through the Lewis Pass to travel south to Christchurch. KiwiRail is trucking goods out of its Blenheim depot to Christchurch.
Work is well under way to remove the estimated 30,000 cubic metres of rock, as well as to stabilise the slope from which the material has come. The full job will take about 5,000 truck movements and another couple of days to remove enough material to reopen one lane of the highway to traffic on Thursday. Once the rail line is cleared, temporary repairs can begin, and it is expected to reopen on Friday. Work is concentrating on stabilising the face of the slip so that more material does not come down in the future.