Landslide on Road and Rail to Christchurch

A landslide near Kaikoura blocked the road and railway from Picton to Christchurch on Friday night. While small landslides on the narrow road near Kaikoura are quite common, this is the biggest one ever in this area. It is about 100m long and covers both the road and railway. Road workers think it contains about 15,000 cubic metres of rock and soil. It will take several days to clear the landslide because of the rain and the danger from more falling rock.

It was probably caused by heavy rain but it is possible that the Canterbury earthquake also was a cause. Kaikoura is 184km north of Christchurch.

100 containers of goods that have come by rail and ferry from the North Island are waiting for trucks to take them to Christchurch. The journey by train or truck from Picton to Christchurch usually takes about five hours but now the trucks have to detour via the Lewis Pass which adds about another two and a half hours to the trip. After the earthquake, which destroyed so much food in warehouses, supermarket shelves are half empty in Christchurch.

Car traffic can take the Inland Kaikoura route which is not a main road. It is not suitable for trucks. This route adds one and a half hours to the trip from Kaikoura to Christchurch which is usually about two and a half hours.

Kaikoura is a popular tourist town where people can go out on a boat to see whales.

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