Today’s reopening of State Highway One north of Kaikoura is a significant milestone for New Zealand’s transport network and the result of a remarkable effort involving road, rail and 1700 workers, KiwiRail’s Chief Executive Peter Reidy says.
“This has been an enormous undertaking and something all of New Zealand will celebrate today. The team at NCTIR has truly lived up to their vision of ‘moving mountains to reconnect communities, and are to be congratulated for this.
“Today’s reopening will be welcomed in particular by those local communities and businesses along the route that were so heavily impacted by the earthquake.
“More widely, however, this also signals an important further step towards restoring the key freight transport links between Auckland and Christchurch that were severed by the earthquake.
“While the job is not yet finished for either rail or road, I know that businesses around the country will welcome having both these critical links reopened.
“This project has demonstrated the importance of integrated transport networks, and I am proud of the work we have been able to do to minimise the impact of the earthquake on transport networks during the road rebuild.
“Since reopening, even with the restricted level of services we have been running, we have moved more than 67,000 tonnes of freight. This has meant at least 4,500 fewer truck journeys on the alternate route, and has reduced costs for businesses.”
“In addition, we have been supporting the road rebuild by moving construction materials by rail, taking further trucks off those busy roads.
“Our teams are continuing to work on restoring the line and during 2018 we can expect progressive improvement in the reliability of our services for our customers.”