National | Damage

Awatere Valley Road in Kaikōura to re-open today

Nine weeks after the Kaikōura earthquake cut off their road with a massive slip, the farmers of the Upper Awatere Valley will once again be able to drive out of the valley when the road reopens today.

A major slip on sent tonnes of rocks and gravel onto the road which had to be cleared. It was a dangerous task that required helicopters, dynamite and a remote-controlled digger.

Malborough Roads Journey Manager Steve Murrin says the road will open to the public including heavy vehicles up to Class 1.

“Travellers can again travel up through the Molesworth but only in vehicles of up to 7 metres; anything longer than that won’t get through,” Murrin says.

He warns that the road still requires many repairs and that people need to take extra care if they do choose to take the route.

“The Awatere Valley Road is a challenging route at the best of times, much of it unsealed, with some very steep sections and some very high precipices so drivers need to take extreme care. At present, there are still a lot of cracks that are still be filled and it is not easy driving.”

Murrin adds that people using the road may face delays as contractors continue to work.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done on the roads and it’s not really the place for people who just want to see what’s been going on.”

Nine families in the Awatere Valley have had to rely on helicopter supply drops since the earthquake hit in November last year.