Massive Clean Up Begins - continued
A risk to contractors is the ongoing after-shocks - over 1,500 in the first 48 hours - which could, at any time, create another massive landslide.
Apart from the many landslips, in some places the highways have been severely damaged by the earth’s massive shifts. Roads are cracked and buckled, bridges are undermined or collapsed.
Pointing to a massive slip while flying along State Highway 1 on Wednesday, 16th November, Prime Minister Key said:
I just don’t see how you can ever repair that bit of road. The whole mountain has moved over.
The vital rail tracks are blocked in many areas, however, by re-routing, KiwiRail was able to cover over 75% of routes within two days.
KiwiRail Chief Executive Peter Reidy says real progress has been made with getting rail and ferry operations back to full speed and supporting customers in challenging times.
The damage on the Main North Line between Christchurch and Picton is significant, however KiwiRail have been working hard around the clock to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the extent of the damage and what needs to be done. Contingency plans have been put in place and alternative rail routes organised.
Peter Reidy continued:
While there is still work to be done, we have made some significant strides in a short amount of time. All freight lines in the North Island and south of Christchurch are open and operating and rail alternatives have been arranged.