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Kaikoura coastal route to get $2b fix

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 14/12/2016 Sean Martin

It will cost up to $2 billion to restore State Highway 1 north and south of Kaikoura following last months' earthquake, the government says.

The road will be rebuilt, with additional improvements to increase safety and resilience, and additional funding will speed up the process, says Transport Minister Simon Bridges.

"The Crown will fund the work required. Exact costs are still being determined, but the current estimate is between $1.4b and $2b."

An Order in Council is currently being prepared that will accelerate the reinstatement of SH1 north and south of Kaikoura, which was closed by massive slips following the magnitude-7.8 shake on November 14.

"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."

Officials hope to have the road south of Kaikoura open to traffic by Christmas but the road north is a bigger job.

Meanwhile, the government will give a grant of up to $5 million to help with the post-earthquake restoration of Kaikoura Harbour so tourist boats can use it again.

"This grant will ensure work can begin as soon as possible to dredge the harbour, which is a pivotal lifeline to the Kaikoura region," said Acting Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee.

The November 14 quake resulted in the seabed rising between one and two metres in some areas, which has severely restricted access to the region by sea.

"Tourism operators currently only have a two-hour window at high tide when they can use the harbour, while fisheries who rely on trailer-launched vessels are unable to operate at all," said Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce.

"We need to get the harbour restored as soon as possible, to get the blood pumping again in the local economy."

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