Thursday 15th December 2016
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The government expects to spend as much as $2 billion rebuilding the coastal route north and south of the stranded North Canterbury town of Kaikoura, and wants access restored within a year.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges confirmed the government will inject extra funding to accelerate the process of repairing the state highway and rail corridor and improving the safety and resilience of the route, he said in a statement. The cost is estimated at between $1.4 billion and $2 billion, and an Order in Council is currently being prepared to accelerate the process.
"The precise work required to repair the route is still under investigation and it will be a very complex job," Bridges said. "However, the government is confident that limited access via the coastal route can be restored in about 12 months."
Last month's 7.8 magnitude earthquake isolated the tourist town and caused damage in the upper reaches of the South Island and lower part of the North Island, requiring a bigger capital spend from the government.
The disruption to the rail and road network has already seen companies face higher freight costs, and poultry firm Tegel Group Holdings today noted that rising expense among the reasons for lowering its annual earnings guidance.
Bridges said the New Zealand Transport Agency will repair and maintain the road for the alternative route through Springs Junction and Lewis Pass, and will also work with local government to maintain Kaikoura's emergency access.
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