The Department of Conservation has granted New Zealand Transport Authority and Kiwirail permits to kill and injure protected seals in Kaikoura, while working to fix the earthquake damaged State Highway 1.
The permits are to cover the organisations in the event a seal is hurt.
Workers also have authorisation to move seals in the area during construction activity, with some disturbance inevitable due to their location.
DOC's Director General Lou Sanson told TVNZ Breakfast today it's "just taking a very pragmatic approach" due to the work undertaken "right in the coastal zone", which entails an "awful lot of blasting and rock removal".
He said DOC were "working hand and glove to prevent injury or death to seals", and was confident in NZTA's ability to protect the animals.
At times there could be about 40-50 seals in the area NZTA and Kiwirail would be working to create tourist attractions.
The NZTA says it is doing everything to ensure wildlife is not harmed.
Local iwi support the nature of the consent, with dead seals to be disposed of in line with Maori customs.