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Cars queue as main highway north and south of Kaikoura officially reopens more than one year after earthquake

Hundreds of trucks, trailers and cars line up for hours near Clarence to drive into Kaikoura following the reopening of State Highway One this afternoon. 

The road is now open from both the north and south.

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

A blessing by local iwi took place at dawn today to mark the official reopening. 

Local iwi carried out the blessing and planted trees.

Kaikoura was completely cut off after the2016 earthquake and the road will finally reopen this afternoon. Source: 1 NEWS

The coastal road between Picton and Christchurch has finally linked up today, just over a year since the Kaikoura region was rocked by a devastating earthquake.

The most formidable slips to the north of Kaikoura are now cleared, and the road repaired.

Project engineer Clark Butcher told 1 NEWS he's "ecstatic" to see the road reopen after the culmination of a massive task. 

"We've literally moved mountains. One year, one month and one day, we've reconnected Kaikoura," he said.

The final touches are being added to Kaikoura's spectacular coastal corridor, following a reconstruction effort that's defied all odds. Source: 1 NEWS

The November 2016 quake saw a million tonnes of material dumped over 85 slips, writing off the road and rail links. 

To date more than $500 million has been spent on the roading project and at its peak more than 1700 workers were on site. 

Earthwork contractors, helicopters and abseilers have all worked together on a job that's seen many engineering feats. 

"Our bridges team have built bridges faster than anyone in New Zealand history before," Mr Butcher said.

The road's reinstatement is what tourist operators all along the coast have been pining for. 

Top 10 Holiday Park owner Ed Nolan said he's very excited because it has been a long time coming and it's "a weight of our shoulders".

Locals line up near Clarence waiting to drive to Kaikoura.
Locals line up near Clarence waiting to drive to Kaikoura. Source: 1 NEWS

Hundreds of cars line State Highway 1 near Clarence as the Kaikoura road reopens one year after the earthquake. Source: 1 NEWS