The NZ Transport Agency has provided guidance for people planning to travel between Picton and Christchurch after State Highway 1 re-opens tomorrow, Friday 15 December.
Even when the road re-opens, several sites will still be under construction, says NZTA earthquake recovery manager Tim Crow.
“While we’re re-opening SH1 as early as we safely can to provide better access to Kaikoura and for those communities along the coastal route, the full rebuild of the highway will continue in 2018,” says Crow.
There will be some unsealed surfaces, lane closures and stop/go traffic controls. The route will be closed at night in places for several months as a safety precaution, and planned closures will also be needed at times to carry out high- impact work.
Detailed information about “what open looks like”, road conditions and links to real-time travel updates are being shared via a dedicated web page: www.nzta.govt.nz/p2c.
Information will be updated regularly and will include photos and video footage.
“The reopening of the highway will give people two viable options for travel around the upper South Island, with the alternate route – via state highways 63, 6, 65 and 7 through Lewis Pass – remaining a reliable option for travel,” says Crow.
“Whatever route people choose to take, they need to allow plenty of extra time when planning journeys and to check the latest conditions at least two hours before travel (and at key route decision points when driving) so that they can get to their destination safely and on time.”
The estimated travel time to drive between Picton and Christchurch on State Highway 1 when it re-opens in December is expected to be a minimum of 5 1⁄2 hours. Driving on the alternate route is expected to take a minimum of 6 1⁄2 hours. But journey time shouldn’t be the only consideration when choosing which way to go.
“It’s important for drivers to understand that both routes have their own challenges so they need to think about the best option for them and where they’re heading. Either way people will need to allow plenty of time in case of unexpected delays or closures.”
Click here for more information on how to plan your journey through the region.