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Aftershock closes inland road to Kaikoura

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 22/11/2016

The inland road to earthquake-stricken Kaikoura has been closed to all traffic for assessment after a 5.6-magnitude aftershock rattled the region.

Canterbury Civil Defence has cited the increased risk from further landslides as well as the potential overtopping of the Towy River dam for the move.

Last week's 7.8-magnitude quake cut State Highway 1 to the north and to the south of Kaikoura.

That meant the inland route, the former SH70, was the only road access into the seaside town and, even then, it has been restricted.

Civil Defence says no traffic will move along the route on Wednesay morning while geotechnical and structural assessments are done.

The target time for completion is midday.

This means the NZ Defence Force convoy carrying supplies and essential services to Kaikoura, and the escorted vehicle access to Mt Lyford from Waiau, will not take place as planned in the morning.

Duty controller Brett Aldridge says the situation will be reviewed at noon.

"Any delay is a cause of great frustration for all of us but people's safety is our top priority when it comes to the use of this route," he said.

"The movement orders for the day will be reworked so if/when it is safe to proceed, we can get things moving again as quickly as possible."

The 5.6-magnitude shake happened at 6.13pm on Tuesday and was located 20km east of Culverden and at a depth of 16km.

It followed a magnitude-5.0 shake tremor just two minutes earlier and located 20km south-east of Culverden.

There have been no reports of injury or major damage.

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