Road access to Kaikoura to be fully restored by Christmas

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has confirmed plans to re-open State Highway 1 north of Kaikoura to traffic in December, restoring the coastal highway link from Picton to Christchurch in time for Christmas travel.

The road was closed after an earthquake struck the South Island township in November 2016.

When the road reopens there will be some unsealed surfaces, lane closures and stop/go traffic controls. The route will need to be closed at night for at least a few months as a safety precaution and planned closures may also be needed over time to deliver high-impact work. These will be well advertised in advance wherever possible. Standard summer opening hours are expected to be from dawn to dusk but this will be confirmed before opening.

NZTA will be urging drivers to check the latest conditions before they travel, and allow plenty of extra time when planning journeys so that they can get to their destination safely in case of delays. They also recommend taking regular breaks and stopping off at local communities along the route.

The alternate Picton to Christchurch route (which goes via state highways 63, 6, 65 and 7 through Lewis Pass) remains a good and reliable option for travel around the top of the South Island, with journeys currently averaging around 6.5 hours under normal conditions.

For more information on New Zealand road conditions, go to