Inland Road back under the wing of HDC
It’s been a journey within a journey for one of the most popular and pretty roads in the Hurunui District.
Inland Road (Route 70) is now back under the control of the Hurunui District Council (HDC).
The road runs from State Highway 1 (SH1) south of Kaikōura through to the Red Post just north of Culverden, suffered extensive damage during the November 2016 earthquake.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) deemed it a vital access route while SH1 was closed due to extensive damage, so took over the maintenance and repairs work in order to ensure it was reopened as soon as possible.
In December 2016 the road was reopened to make Kaikōura accessible, which was a lifeline for the coastal town and wider community, and anyone travelling on the east coast either side of Kaikōura.
Together with North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) the major earthquake repairs have now been completed. Collectively, the works totalled around $40 million.
More than 50 slips occurred on the Inland Road and seven bridges were damaged, as a result of the November 2016 earthquake.
HDC Chief Operations Officer Dan Harris says they are very grateful to NZTA and NCTIR, as it was with their significant funding and hard work that the road has been restored.
“As one of the main gateways to this district, it was hugely important this road was engineered to be once again safe and accessible. The extensive works undertaken would have been unaffordable for the district and this has been a welcomed effort from those agencies.”
This stretch of road will now once again be under the wing of HDC and added back into the existing maintenance regimen. While maintenance came back to HDC on December 1, there is still a transition underway between NZTA and HDC, as NZTA is remedying some issues.
“Our goal of course is to keep this road at a high standard. The previous works carried out do have a warranty period and we’ll work with NZTA to ensure the road is in its best shape to meet the demand. As always, we encourage all road users to keep themselves safe, especially during the summer holiday period when our roads are traditionally very busy.”
The NZTA/NCTIR repair works consisted of 20 projects to restore the Inland Road back to pre-earthquake standard, including repairing bridges, culverts and retaining walls, as well as two major earthwork projects.
- A new reinforced concrete bridge was built over the Wandle River to replace the original bridge which was damaged beyond repair during the earthquake. The rebuild took four months, using a total of 290 cubic metres of concrete, 10 bridge beams, and piles drilled up to 24 metres deep. Six other bridges had repairs to their abutments, beams, piers, shear keys, expansion joints, piles and approaches.
- The road was realigned at Lulus bend and built up 1.5m higher than the original level to protect the road from flooding from the Mason River.
- Other sections of the road were vulnerable to further slips, so retaining walls and rockfall protection have been installed.
This road, linking Kaikoura with North Canterbury via Rotherham, was built between 1882 and 1888. This was the main route for a long time, because although the road through the Hundalees was opened in the early 1890s, the major rivers were not bridged until 1914 (Sherrard, 1966 - Kaikoura Case Study, Lincoln University, 1998).