Kaikoura has always been a special place that Flying Kiwi has visited for many years and we're super excited, 1 year, 1 month and 1 day from the devastating earthquake in November 2016 that caused significant damage to the area, closing the main highway and only route between Picton to Christchurch - it has re-opened! December 15th the first vehicles travelled through and only a few days later on December 17th the Flying Kiwi bus rolls in for the first time in over a year!
You can see by the images below that this is a massive project that involves moving an incredible amount of debris and rubble, re-building entire sections of the road, changing the previous route by building new bridges and overpasses while securing the cliff line so the road is safe and will outlast any future quakes all the while maintaining New Zealand's commitment to the unique marine life along this beautiful stretch of coastline!
This huge slip has covered the road and bent the train tracks. The landslides brought down trees, earth and huge boulders making clearing the road incredibly difficult!
The slips here blocked both ends of a tunnel that went through this bluff along the coastline. Some new sections of road will be built including bridges and overpasses as sections like this have become unusable.
Another big landslide covers the road and blocks the train line. The height of the slip is quite dramatic in this photo!
The quake ripped up this section of the road! Luckily the quakes happened at night so very little traffic was travelling along the road. During the day State Highway 1 is an important transport link for many companies and locals as well as attracting many tourist travelling between Picton and the tourist town of Kaikoura
This photo shows work crews clearing the major slip at Ohau Point. This part of the coastline was home to an important seal colony that was unfortunately destroyed during the quake. Wildlife was a big concern after the quake but it's thought the seals have found new areas to colonize. This section of road was one of the last to be cleared and crews worked from both ends to meet in the middle.
These work crews are clearing out and leveling the road in dangerous conditions. Spotters are used to give some warning if there is any movement about the crews on the ground. The scale of the landslides is shown clearly in this photo as the big machinery looks tiny compared to the amount of earth they are clearing.