Immediately after the earthquake, the NZ Transport Agency took over the management of the Inland Road (Route 70) between Waiau and Kaikōura to undertake the necessary emergency repairs and re-open the road to get essential supplies into Kaikōura. The earthquake highlighted the vulnerability of access into Kaikōura and of farms and communities along the roading routes.
The Transport Agency is repairing Route 70 and undertaking $10 million of work to improve the safety and resilience of this route. It will continue to manage the road until access has been restored along State Highway 1.
The Transport Agency also developed a bespoke emergency funding package to assist the Hurunui and Kaikōura District Councils to repair and restore local roads. This higher fund-assisted rate recognises that as smaller councils, Hurunui and Kaikōura, have limited financial resources to complete the necessary repair work at the same time as managing business as usual activities.
The Transport Agency, as part of the overall government support package, is also a member of the Kaikōura Rebuild Steering Group that provides guidance and oversight of the Council facilities rebuild. The Transport Agency committed to provide this extra assistance through to the end of 2018, drawing on the lessons learnt from the Christchurch rebuild.
The estimated cost of local road repairs is $12 million. Normally, Kaikōura would need to pay for about 30% of these emergency repairs, with the government picking up the remainder through the National Land Transport Fund. However, a special arrangement was reached between the Council and Crown that will see Kaikōura District Council picking up only 5% of the costs (about $0.6 million) and the National Land Transport Fund meeting the remainder (about $11.4 million).The Transport Agency and the Council are working together to agree on what damage to the local roads was the result of the earthquake and, therefore, subject to 95% funding from the Transport Agency, and what damage relates to Transport Agency /NCTIR use of the roads to remediate the Transport Corridor and the Harbour and, therefore, the repairs will be entirely funded by the Transport Agency.
The National Land Transport Fund will also pay for 100% of the repair, maintenance and management costs for Route 70 until the Councils can take on their share of these costs once again. This provided a small benefit for Kaikōura’s local road recovery, as approximately 26kms of Route 70 is in the Kaikōura District.
As is usual, the Crown (via the National Land Transport Fund) will carry the full costs of reinstating the State Highway between Picton and Christchurch.