By Bernard Hickey
Transport Minister Simon Bridges has announced the Cabinet has agreed to reinstate the Kaikoura coastal route north and south of the coastal settlement.
The existing State Highway 1 and rail corridor along the coastal route to the north and south of Kaikoura will be rebuilt, with additional improvements to increase safety and resilience.
“Since the day of the earthquake, restoring access to Kaikoura has been our number one priority. Agreeing to restore the coastal route demonstrates our ongoing commitment to getting this region back on its feet as quickly as possible,” Bridges said.
“To provide certainty, the Crown will fund the work required. Exact costs are still being determined, but the current estimate is between $1.4 billion and $2 billion. In addition, emergency legislation passed through Parliament last week will cut through red tape, and ensure repairs to the existing route can be accelerated," he said.
An Order in Council was currently being prepared that would accelerate the reinstatement of State Highway 1 north and south of Kaikoura.
Bridges said that even with an accelerated process, there was a long way to go.
“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," he said.
“Rebuilding a stronger, more resilient coastal route will give Kaikoura residents the security of a second connection to the rest of the South Island.”