The government wants SH1 to be reopened along the earthquake-damaged South Island coast but doesn’t yet have enough information to commit to that, acting Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says.
Huge slips have covered the main road to Christchurch.
Engineers are assessing the situation and the possibility of a new route is being examined.
“The desire is to get the road opened,” Mr Brownlee told reporters.
“It’s a matter of what you can do and how you can do it – before you can make a decision you have to know whether there are alternatives.”
He said it was his feeling that the coast road would reopen – but it would need a lot of work.
“The intention is there to reopen it,” he said.
“We hope to have a handle on that by the end of next week.”
Two weeks to get “a handle on that”. Who on earth though that it could be fixed in weeks, or even months? Not I. I’ve said from the start that things are seriously munted. How seriously?
Though Minister and officials are yet to get a firm idea on how long State Highway One from Seddon to Cheviot may be closed, they are preparing for the worst.
There is a view in some quarters in the Beehive that it will be at least a year before the road re-opens.
And who is going to fix the railway line if they don’t even have road access?
This quake may have caused fewer deaths and less damage over-all than the Christchurch one. But the economic damage from losing a major arterial transport route is going to be felt for years to come.
And even as that section of SH1 may one day re-open, companies are going to have to invest in permanent distribution systems that excludes PIC-CHC rail and excludes SH1 access for road freight. In the mean time, there are farms, small business and feeder industries – not to mention tourism, that will have no cost effective way of getting enough tourists, produce and products in and out.
– Politik, NZN