Landslips on State Highway 1 on the Christchurch to Picton route via Kaikoura caused by former cyclone Gita have been cleared enough to allow the road to re-open.

The New Zealand Transport Agency says the road is open from this morning but drivers should expect delays as the road is down to one lane in more sections because of Gita.

The usual five-hour trip from Christchurch to Picton via Kaikoura is likely to take five-and-a-half hours and people should still consider using the alternative inland route through Lewis Pass.

The agency has previously said Gita brought down about 300,000 cubic metres of material at 60 sites both north and south of Kaikoura, from Parnassus on the south side, to Clarence on the north.


The biggest of these was just south of Okiwi Bay, at Jacob's Ladder, north of Kaikoura where 200,000cu m of material was dislodged by heavy rain.

Given the reducing light heading into autumn, the new opening hours for SH1 north and south of Kaikoura will also be reduced slightly to 7.30am to 7.30pm. Previously the hours were 7.00am to 8.30pm.

Clearance of cyclone-generated slip material has been faster than the earthquake slips, as rock anchors, mesh, netting and fences/bunds did not have to be put in before the debris material could be safely cleared.

Separately, NZTA is keeping SH60, the road over Takaka Hill to Golden Bay, closed on Saturday other than to escorted convoys from 7am to 8am and 5pm to 6pm.

Crews are making good progress removing landslide material from Gita but access to the road will be restricted for several weeks.

On Sunday, SH60 will be open for convoys all day from 8am to 5pm and similar arrangements will apply on Sundays in coming weeks.

This means crews will be able to work six days a week to repair the road.