Kaikōura highway nears completion with final touches fine tuned under darkness

After more than four years of hard work, the Kaikōura earthquake repair programme is nearing completion.

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1 NEWS joined the night shift of the massive engineering project. Source: 1 NEWS

The project along State Highway One on the north Canterbury coast came in with a whopping $1.2 billion price tag – one of the most impressive engineering feats in New Zealand’s history.

When the 7.8 magnitude quake struck in 2016, the damage to SH1 and the rail network was almost unimaginable.

Nearly a million cubic metres of rock had to be shifted to carve out the new routes into the cliff face and now, four and a half years later, they’re still working to prevent rock falls.

“There’s been over 9,000 women and men who have worked on it, and that equates to something in the order of 6.5 million worker hours,” says Project Manager Tony Gallagher.

All in all, they’ve commissioned 274 projects – the last one: a 110-metre-long roof canopy.

Engineered out of some steel beams, wire ropes and mesh – it means that if rocks fall from above; they’ll bounce off into the ocean instead of covering the road.

It’s all done by at night to prevent disrupting traffic during the daytime.

This section of SH1 is one of the busiest in New Zealand, with vehicles waiting either side to get through when it opens each day.

The entire project comes to an end next month, marking an end to a mammoth project largely done under the cover of darkness.