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Kaikoura - A drive to remember

On November 14, 2016 the 7.8 magnitude earthquake changed the seaside town of Kaikoura’s landscape forever. A notable part of the damage was the (some 350,000m3 debris) slip on the SH1 which cut the town of from the rest on NZ and caused huge distress to the locals until a new path was made to access the town. However wasn’t until 15 December 2017 SH1 could open due to the seawalls that had been put in place.

Since mid-2017 Fletcher Reinforcing have been involved in supplying North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Rebuild (NCTIR) with material for new bridges (road and rail) piling, tunnels and seawall and with the rebuild only about half way through this is set to continue for another 12 months.

The Christchurch Fletcher Reinforcing team has had a team of steel placers working on sites for the last 4-5 months helping install the prefabbed cages which has been an excellent aide to the project. The Christchurch team has also been on call to work with NCTIR to deliver to very strict and unpredictable timelines.

The seawall blocks are 1m(H) x1m(W) x2m(L) and in some places are as high as 9m. To the right you can see the old road which was originally on the coastline, showing just how much the seabed has risen since the earthquake.

The reopening of the South Bay Marina on 14 November 2017 was also a significant milestone for the community and the tourism industry.

After the earthquake the whale watch boats were left stuck on the seabed due to it rising. Also the boat ramps were interrupted for charter and private fishermen.

Fletcher Reinforcing were involved in supplying mainly galvanised steel and mesh for the marina project. Given the short lead times available, we were able to supply galvanised Reid bar which we stocked so that NCTIR could reach their opening date. There were even a couple of trips with company utes and trailers to help keep the project on target.


Below are some interesting facts you probably didn’t know about the work being done to restore the Kaikoura area:

  • The South Island has moved 6m closer to the north island as a result of the quake
  • More than 33,000m2 of rock fall protection mesh has been wrapped around 7 slips south of Kaikoura protecting the road and rail below
  • 210 Archaeological sites have been identified
  • Professional seal handlers have personally relocated 13,200 + seals (adults and pups) since February 2017
  • 22,000m3 of material was dredged from Kaikoura harbour.
  • The total estimated cost to repair the damage to the South Island transport networks corridor remains at $1.3 billion of which only half has been spent as of April 2018.