The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), KiwiRail and the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) alliance has announced that the Kaikōura earthquake recovery transport project has entered its final phase.

Works to rebuild several transport networks along SH1 north and south of Kaikōura, as well as the inland route to Waiau, have been ongoing since a 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook the area in November 2016.

Most of the construction process is expected to be concluded by the end of next year, with NCTIR’s handover work to close in December next year.

NCTIR Board chair Steve Mutton said: “A work package for the remainder of the work was scoped earlier this year and has now been agreed by the Transport Agency and KiwiRail.

“These new projects are on the Inland Road (Route 70) between Waiau and Kaikōura and on SH1 north and south of the town.

“We’ve been on the ground in Kaikōura since the earthquake in 2016 and have come a long way. The road and rail were reopened in 2017, but since then, we’ve been making many temporary fixes permanent.”

The construction crew is currently delivering safety enhancements along the route. These include realigning road sections, installing double centre lines to keep traffic further apart and installing safety barriers. Six safe stopping areas are currently being built.

Mutton added: “The works will be delivered within the original Crown-funded budget of $1.2bn set in July 2017. The Transport Agency and KiwiRail are prioritising the remaining work to make these transport corridors safer and more reliable.”

According to the NZTA, approximately $260m is yet to be spent on the NCTIR programme.

In July 2017, the New Zealand Government announced plans to invest NZ$231m ($171m) to improve the 60km stretch of road on State Highway 1 between Clarence and Oaro near Kaikoura on the South Island.