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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is gearing up for a busy summer with a lot of work scheduled across North Canterbury* to improve the region’s highways.

Mark Pinner, System Manager, Central South Island, says road users will notice more road crews and work sites over the next few months – from now through to the end of March, 2024.

“We are doing as much work as possible between now and mid-December to reduce the impact on people’s journeys during the busy holiday season.

“This year’s maintenance programme aims to renew around 120 single lane kilometres of North Canterbury state highways always aiming to give drivers safer, smoother journeys, and to keep our highways in good condition.

“We appreciate road users slowing down around our crews, who work long days and nights through summer when other people are enjoying road trips,” he says.

Mr Pinner says the large amount of work means it’s important drivers check road conditions before they travel.

“Specialist crews will generally move sequentially along a stretch of highway, but it is also highly likely that one stretch of highway could have several different specialist crews working at the same time. So people will strike more than one Stop/Go site on key busy highways on the same trip.

“For long distance journeys during daytime, such as Picton to Christchurch, we advise people to allow 45 minutes to one-hour additional time to cover for delays due to multiple active sites.

“Many journeys will have at least one delay due to road repairs or re-seals, mostly of fewer than 20 minutes.

“Delays longer than 20 minutes will always be shown on our Journey Planner and we encourage people to check this before heading off.”

Journey Planner(external link)

North and Mid Canterbury and (some) West Coast highway areas in line for renewals this summer season ie large resurfacing and rehabilitation sites – not small maintenance sites.

Why do it over summer?

Road renewals and re-sealing have to be completed during the warmer, drier months to give a long-lasting, successful result. This also coincides with the same time New Zealanders and overseas visitors are travelling on our state highways.

“Whenever you come up to a worksite, remember that our road workers are doing their best to complete their work and keep you moving at the same time. Please be respectful and follow their advice and instructions,” says Mr Pinner.

Summer maintenance programme – additional information

  • Journey Planner(external link)
  • On key routes like SH1 between Christchurch and Picton, build in an extra hour’s travel to avoid being stressed meeting your ferry departure.
  • Key holiday periods e.g between Christmas and New Year are kept free of roadworks to help ease the pressure on peak travel periods.  

Chip-sealing on SH1**

Routine chip-seals will be programmed across the summer. These will cause delays between five and 20 minutes most of the time in Kaikōura, Hurunui, Waipara, Christchurch City, Burnham and Rakaia.

Other chip-seal sites and likely dates

  • Red Post corner (Culverden) – 6-12 December
  • SH7 through to the West Coast/ Maruia Springs – 6-12 December
  • SH75 Halswell to Akaroa – 24 October – 7 November
  • SH73 West Melton to Castle Hill – 20 November – 3 December
  • SH77 Homebush to Windwhistle – 4 December.

More complex repairs

There is also broader rehabilitation work timetabled for nights to affect the fewest road users. Most delays will be up to five minutes, a few up to 20 minutes. The sites are:

  • SH1 through Greta Valley, North Canterbury – 2-31 October
  • SH1 Dunsandel, south of Christchurch – 18 January – 13 February, 2024
  • SH7 the Leslie Hills, inland from Waipara – 19 September – 15 December
  • SH7 South of Culverden 12 February – 28 March, 2024
  • SH7A Hanmer 30 October – 2 November
  • SH75 Akaroa highway, south of Little River – 5 February – 5 March, 2024
  • SH76 Brougham and Gasson Streets in Christchurch city – 4-6 February.

Asphalting is also scheduled for 19 sites at night with a number of traffic management approaches given the complexity of this work. Any short term or overnight closures will be displayed on the Journey Planner. Much of this work is within Christchurch City at busy intersections around Curletts Road, Garlands Road, Brougham and Gasson St intersection.

Bridge structural checks

  • SH1 Waimakariri Bridge – 15 – 20 October
  • SH1 Rakaia Bridge – dates not confirmed yet.

Orion’s 66kV cable across Christchurch

*Canterbury state highways are serviced by two separate state highway maintenance contracts – Mid/South Canterbury and North Canterbury including the alpine passes (Lewis SH7 and Porters SH73) and up to Kaikōura. This media release relates to North Canterbury’s programme.

**SH1 is the primary, most direct traffic highway linking key cities/towns from Auckland (starting at Cape Reinga) to Bluff. In the South Island it links Picton, Kaikōura, Christchurch, Ashburton, Timaru, Oamaru, Dunedin and Invercargill.