Green light for Kaikōura weekday public convoys

5:52 pm on 29 November 2016

Controlled public convoys are to be allowed on the inland road in and out of Kaikōura from tomorrow morning.

Vehicles are leaving Kaikōura via the inland route after being given the green light by Civil Defence.

Cars leave the area during the first public convoy last week. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has taken over control of the road and is scheduling controlled convoys in both the north and south directions.

The first in-bound convoy, heading from Mt Lyford into Kaikōura, will start at 8am tomorrow. The first out-bound convoy will leave the Kaikōura cordon at 2pm.

People who wanted to be included in the convoy could register with NZTA online or call 0800 44 44 49 between 7am and 6pm.

An NZTA spokesman said a total of 150 vehicles had already registered to travel in the two convoys tomorrow.

"For safety reasons, only people that have registered with the Transport Agency will be able to travel during the scheduled times," the agency said in a release.

"At present the inland road is still a fragile and hazardous route and access is controlled by the Transport Agency, Kaikōura District Council and Hurunui District Council."

A checkpoint will be in place on both the northbound and southbound routes to make sure only approved vehicles have access.

Cyclists are not currently permitted on the road.

The convoys would run every weekday until 9 December, alternating each day between light and heavy vehicles.

During weekends, the route would only be open to defence force and infrastructure vehicles.

NZTA said it aimed to restore ongoing single-lane access for residents and essential services by mid-December.

"This is dependent on weather and any further significant seismic activity."

Returning the rentals

Meanwhile, the Tourism Industry Aotearoa business group has been hatching a plan to bring back about 300 hire cars and campervans from Kaikoura.

The vehicles, which belong to a number of different companies, were left behind by tourists who were evacuated from the town following the earthquake.

A Tourism Industry Aotearoa spokesperson said the plan was to bring in a group of drivers to extract the vehicles.

Petrol would also be transported in to ensure that filling up the the cars and vans would not lead to the town being sucked dry of fuel.