Repairing Kaikōura’s transport links

Work is continuing apace to fully reconnect Kaikōura’s road and rail links following the massively damaging 7.8 magnitude earthquake that shook the area in November last year.

The earthquake, comprising a complex sequence of ruptures, was centred approximately 60 km south-west of Kaikōura township. Major transport routes in the South Island were closed due to slips and damaged infrastructure. While a number of roads have since re-opened, State Highway 1 on the coast north of Kaikōura still remains closed.

Due to the urgency, nature and location of the required reinstatement, the works were enabled under special legislation: – an Order in Council under Section 7 of the Hurunui / Kaikōura Earthquakes Recovery Act 2016. The North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery Alliance (NCTIR) was then formed to undertake the repair of both State Highway 1 and the rail line north and south of Kaikōura.

Boffa Miskell has been engaged by the alliance to work on the reinstatements. Dr Leigh Bull is leading the ecology work-stream and Dr Tanya Blakely is the freshwater ecologist on the project. Landscape architects Bron Faulkner and Yvonne Pfluger are providing their expertise on the assessment and design aspects of the project.

Leigh says the massive scale of damage along the coast combined with the goal to reopen the highway by the end of the year means it is a fast-paced project which continually presents new and challenging ecological and landscape issues to be resolved. Already, though, there has been a positive outcome. A rare unnamed rock daisy, which grows only on the rock faces above Ohau Point, was thought likely to have been wiped out by massive land slides. In a collaboration with the Department of Conservation it was discovered that plants had survived and a species rescue plan is already being implemented to assist the population recover.

For further information please contact Dr. Leigh Bull

27 June 2017