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A major slip clearance milestone has been achieved with work crews now able to access the entire coastal corridor north of Kaikoura for the first time since the November 2016 earthquake, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.

“Yesterday teams working from the north and south of the significant slip at Ohau Point met up, marking a significant point in the effort to restore the road and rail links to Kaikoura,” Mr Bridges says.

“Construction crews now have access to the entire stretch of the coastal corridor north of Kaikoura which will greatly speed up the reinstatement of this important route.

“Crews are now establishing a construction track around Ohau Point, which will allow work crews to enter a new phase of reconnecting State Highway 1, which includes the installation of around 9000 square meters of steel mesh ‘drapes’ to protect the area from further rock falls and will allow the clearance of rocks close to the road level that have been previously inaccessible.

“North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) teams have been working very hard to get to this point, and with Ohau Point now opened up to construction vehicles the pace of repair work is expected to accelerate to open the road.

“NCTIR crews have now cleared seven of the nine major slips that buried parts of State Highway 1 and the rail line north of Kaikoura in the November 2016 earthquake.

“The Government remains committed to this important work and it is impressive to see that work is progressing at pace to restore the transport system in what is a challenging environment for work crews.

“The restoration of these essential links is critical to supporting our economy, keeping these communities connected and boosting the prosperity of this region,” Mr Bridges says.

Mr Bridges says based on current progress crews remain on track to restore transport links to Kaikoura and its surrounding communities by Christmas.

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