State Highway One, north of Kaikoura, which was wiped out by last year's massive earthquake, finally reopens tomorrow after 13 months of "unprecedented" repair work and much to the relief to cut-off residents and businesses.

The magnitude-7.8 November 14 2016 quake devastated SH1, the lifeline of the South Island and main arterial route linking Picton and Christchurch.

The violent shaking brought down 85 landslides across the road and rail corridor.

Around 350,000 - 400,000 cubic metres of earth came down on a 40km stretch of road between Mangamaunu and Clarence alone.


But now, after 13 months of frantic repair, involving hundreds of contractors working around the clock, SH1 north of Kaikoura reopens tomorrow.

And it can't come soon enough for locals and businesses, especially the seaside town's tourism industry, which has been so badly hit by the lack of tourist trade over the last year.

"It's going to be amazing when the road opens. It will bring heaps of people through Kaikoura," Levi's Pedal Kayaks owner Levi O'Conner said.

Clarence River Rafting used to take 1000 people a year on half day trips down the Clarence River, but the quake brought business to a halt.

Owner Ben Judge was "definitely looking forward to it" reopening even though he added: "It's been nice living on a dead end road, traffic normally roars past my gate. I've become accustomed to the quiet."

While the reopening is a relief to thousands, the road will only operate during daylight hours, initially from 7am until 8.30pm.

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) is urging people to be aware of the night time closure hours which will apply to two sections of road just north and south of Kaikoura.

"These areas will be closed overnight as a safety precaution, and people travelling on SH1 on the coastal route through the summer will need to allow enough time in their journeys to account for the 8.30pm closures," says NZ Transport Agency Earthquake Recovery Manager Tim Crow.

The closure areas north of Kaikoura are between Clarence and Mangamaunu and south of Kaikoura between Goose Bay and Peketa. Both areas will re-open each day at 7am once crews have completed a safety check.

Crow said the closure information is being shared by the Cook Strait ferries and i-SITEs, as well as electronic road side signage and a checkpoint just south of Blenheim from 7pm to 6am. Road crews at the checkpoint will help people make the right travel choices for their journeys and prevent them getting stuck further down the coast at the closure zone, he added.

Crow says drivers need to be alert and follow all signs and the instructions of road crews when using the route.

"To keep people safe there will be a large maintenance crew and police presence actively patrolling the route," he said.

NZTA is also reminding people not to plan to use the road any earlier than tomorrow afternoon as road crews will be working up until the last minute to get the road ready and will be moving trucks and equipment off site in the morning before the road re-opens.

Department of Conservation South Marlborough Operations Manager Phil Bradfield said with the night-time closures and possible unexpected delays on the highway, people may choose to break their journey overnight at beachside camps or for shorter rest stops.

The world-renowned Ohau Stream where seal pups have traditionally gathered and frolicked is closed, however, due to unsafe earthquake damage.

Bradfield said the best place to view seals currently is at Kaikōura Peninsula, just south of the township.