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Kaikoura inland road to open Monday

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 16/12/2016

The inland road to Kaikoura will open for unrestricted use on Monday, after being buried in a series of landslips in November's magnitude-7.8 earthquake.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges has announced State Highway 70 will open next week, providing the first two-way road in and out of the area since the quake struck the area.

He said crews had worked "relentlessly" in the five weeks since to clear 50 slips, repair damage and build an entirely new diversion around the highly unstable Whalesback section of the route.

The NZTA will open the route on Monday morning - barring any major aftershocks or extreme weather - but with speed restrictions and traffic control in areas where work was still ongoing.

Contractors have also been working to reopen State Highway 1, which has been closed both north and south of the tourist town.

The NZTA expects to have the highway south of Kaikoura open by Christmas, although possibly only for a single lane in parts.

Mr Bridges this week said cabinet had agreed to a rebuild of SH1 and the rail network in the area over the next year, at an estimated cost of between $1.4 billion and $2b.

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