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Traffic volume damaging South Island roads

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 22/11/2016

Alternate road routes in place after the Kaikoura earthquake destroyed sections of State Highway 1 are experiencing up to four times their normal amount of traffic, causing damage and delays.

The normally four-hour trip between Picton and Christchurch is now taking more than seven, prompting warnings from police for motorists to stick to the speed limit and manage their fatigue.

NZ Police have sent an additional 10 highway patrol officers to State Highway 70 where drivers are being urged to exercise patience.

"There's going to be a lot of extra traffic, there'll be a lot of trucks, it'll be hard to overtake so the key really is patience," Assistant Commissioner Dave Cliff said.

"Slow down, accept it's going to take a lot longer and our message is we want to arrive safely."

He also warned that due to poor cell coverage and the remoteness of the location, it would take longer for rescue services to reach the area in the event of a serious crash.

Slowing down will also help preserve the roads which are being damaged quicker because of the high volume of traffic.

Assistant Commissioner Cliff said the police saying in relation to speed - "the faster you go, the bigger the mess" also applied to the roads.

"The faster people travel, the faster trucks travel, the more damage occurs," he said.

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