Road nearly open, KiwiRail aim to restore TranzAlpine

The Omoto road on the West Coast could possibly reopen to one lane as early as next Wednesday, and the train line in early December, officials have said.

Drainage work was having a "positive effect", the NZ Transport Agency said yesterday, a month after the road was closed.

Land movement had almost ceased in recent days, despite ongoing rain, the agency confirmed on Thursday.

It had stabilised enough for a construction road to be built above the existing highway.

"Our best-case scenario is to reopen one lane of highway, unsealed, mid-next week, possibly Wednesday, 20 November", NZTA maintenance contract manager Moira Whinham said.

"We need to keep up close monitoring of the site and people need to bear in mind that permanent repairs on this site are still to come.

"It will be a slightly slower trip into Greymouth for a few more months but it is a relatively short stretch of highway so will have minimal effect upon road users."

A number of horizontal drainage holes have now been completed by the drilling rig, and piezometers installed to measure groundwater pressure.

"More drainage holes are being drilled to help drain more of the slip and we have started rebuilding the road and rail formation", Ms Whinham said.

"Every effort" would be made with KiwiRail to ensure access was maintained during permanent repairs.

"KiwiRail is continuing to work as fast as we can to achieve a rail reconnection between Christchurch and the West Coast, a key region for KiwiRail", group chief executive Greg Miller said.

"We are committed to the West Coast, to restoring crucial freight services to our customers there and to restoring our world-renowned TranzAlpine train service to terminate at Greymouth.

"We are still on track to reopen the rail track in early December."


went and had a look.... its looking a lot better they are working on rail track and road... looked good....