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Milk tankers to leave Kaikoura Monday

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 2/12/2016

Milk tankers will be given priority access to and from Kaikoura from next week.

The first full tankers are expected to leave the region on Monday using the inland road, almost three weeks after the region was devastated by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake.

Other essential freight will also be given priority the government announced on Friday.

"While the inland road between Kaikoura and Mt Lyford is still a very fragile and hazardous route, crews have been working hard to clear the road of more than 50 slips to get it to a state where it can now be used safely, with vehicles travelling in supervised convoys," Transport Minister Simon Bridges said.

With no means of transport, farmers have had to discharge milk onto their properties to get rid of it.

The New Zealand Transport Agency is continuing to work on State Highway 1 south of Kaikoura, and it's hoped it will be open for controlled, single lane access for residents and essential services by mid-December.

That time frame is dependent on weather and further earthquakes, Mr Bridges said.

"We are making much better progress than expected at this point in the recovery and as a result it is anticipated the road will be opened much sooner," he said.

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