Transport infrastructure performance and management in the South Island of New Zealand, during the first 100 days following the 2016 mw 7.8 “Kaikōura” earthquake.
At 00:02 on 14th November 2016, a Mw 7.8 earthquake occurred in and offshore of the northeast of the South Island of New Zealand. Fault rupture, ground shaking, liquefaction, and co-seismic landslides caused severe damage to distributed infrastructure, and particularly transportation networks; large segments of the country’s main highway, State Highway 1 (SH1), and the Main North Line (MNL) railway line, were damaged between Picton and Christchurch. The damage caused direct local impacts, including isolation of communities, and wider regional impacts, including disruption of supply chains. Adaptive measures have ensured immediate continued regional transport of goods and people. Air and sea transport increased quickly, both for emergency response and to ensure routine transport of goods. Road diversions have also allowed critical connections to remain operable. This effective response to regional transport challenges allowed Civil Defence Emergency Management to quickly prioritise access to isolated settlements, all of which had road access 23 days after the earthquake. However, 100 days after the earthquake, critical segments of SH1 and the MNL remain closed and their ongoing repairs are a serious national strategic, as well as local, concern.
This paper presents the impacts on South Island transport infrastructure, and subsequent management through the emergency response and early recovery phases, during the first 100 days following the initial earthquake, and highlights lessons for transportation system resilience.