Inland route to Kaikōura to fully re-open

2:37 pm on 16 December 2016

The inland route to Kaikōura will open for unrestricted use next week for the first time since the November 14 earthquake.

Cars and trucks line up as drivers wait for the all clear to go through the inland route to Kaikoura.

One of the convoys on the inland route, soon after the earthquake. Photo: RNZ / Conan Young

Route 70 was opened for limited use a few days after slips caused by the devastating magnitude 7.8 quake cut access to Kaikōura.

It can currently only be used only by people who registered the day before, and carried safety gear.

From Monday the road will reopen completely, although there will be speed restrictions and traffic controls in place as work continues on some sections.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges said crews had worked relentlessly to make the severely damaged route safe for general use.

The work included clearing more than 50 slips, stabilising slopes and building an entirely new diversion around the highly unstable Whalesback section, he said.

Crews were continuing to clear slips and stabilise slopes on State Highway One south of Kaikōura, and were doing preparation work for the huge job on the highway north of Kaikōura.

Crayfish collecting ban set to be lifted

Meanwhile, the temporary closure of the crayfish fishery along the South Island's earthquake-affected east coast is expected to be lifted next week.

Collecting shellfish, crayfish and seaweed has been banned in the area since last month's earthquake lifted the seabed by up to four metres along parts of the coastline, exposing sealife.

The Ministry for Primary Industries has been looking into how species have been affected.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said its findings indicated the rock lobster fishery had come through in relatively good shape, and the closure could be lifted next Tuesday.

But a closure notice for all remaining shellfish and seaweed species would remain until late February.

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