15 Nov 2016

The NZ Transport Agency is working to clear slips and safely re-open key South Island roads as conditions allow.

  • Strong aftershocks are continuing to hit the South Island and the lower North Island in the wake of the 7.5 magnitude earthquake which hit North Canterbury at 12.02am on Monday.
  • Kaikoura remains cut off, with no road or rail access. The navy ship HMNZS Canterbury has been sent to Kaikoura and will begin evacuating people at first light on Wednesday.
  • Tsunami warnings have been cancelled but people should remain vigilant around coastal waters as strong and unusual currents may still be present.
  • NZ Transport Agency contractors are assessing the safety of key South Island state highway routes. They are working to clear slips and safely re-open roads as conditions allow.
  • With heavy rains and strong winds affecting many areas and continuing aftershocks contributing to the on-going risk of further slips and rockfalls in several parts of the South Island, the Transport Agency is urging people to avoid non-essential travel and to drive with extra caution.
  • Transport Agency Highway Manager Neil Walker says an urgent priority for the Agency is undertaking a detailed assessment of the scale and complexity of the large slips which are blocking SH1 on either side of Kaikoura. 
  • An alternative inland state highway route has been re-established between Picton and Christchurch, via Murchison and the Lewis Pass, re-establishing access for local communities and allowing large trucks access through to Christchurch. While the route is open, some sections are reduced to a single lane.
  • To enable access to Kaikoura, NZTA is working with Kaikoura District Council to open the inland road (old State Highway 70) between Culverden and Kaikoura. Work crews are currently assessing the road and structures for damage and it is hoped to have the route safely open within days.
  • State Highway 7a, giving access to Hanmer Springs from State Highway 7, was closed overnight but has reopened this morning for light vehicles only, and under escort by contractors. The road will be re-assessed today.
  • The infrastructure in Christchurch has come through this week's earthquakes well. There are no issues with drinking water in Christchurch or Banks Peninsula and there is no need to boil water. All the city's pump stations have remained operational, and no water pressure was lost at any stage overnight.

  • SCIRT has completed assessments of its current work sites and there is no damage following the 7.5 magnitude quake and there appears to be no issues with SCIRT's previously repaired infrastructure.
  • All Christchurch City Council libraries and recreational facilities are open as usual.
  • In general, health services across the Canterbury and West Coast Districts are operating normally, including community-based support and Aged Residential Care facilities. 
  • Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism chief executive Vic Allen says the airport, hotels, car and campervan hire companies, conference and meeting venues and visitor attractions in Christchurch are all operating as normal and they are encouraging people to keep their plans to come to Christchurch.
  • If you are finding it hard to cope and need support you can ring the Canterbury Support Line on 0800 777 846 24/7. When you call this helpline, someone will talk with you and help work out what kind of support you may need. They can connect you with free counselling services or organisations that can offer you practical support, information or advice. A list of available social support services is also available on the Family Services Directory. Go to the Family Services Directory(external link).
  • All international events scheduled for Christchurch this month are going ahead as planned. These include the Commonwealth Veteran Fencing Championships from this Thursday until Sunday, November 20, the World Bowls Championships from Tuesday, November 29 until Sunday, December 11 and the Blackcaps v Pakistan 1st ANZ Test Match at the Hagley Oval this Thursday.