Public access, with some restrictions, along the length of Queen Charlotte Drive is just around the corner.
The Marlborough Roads Recovery Team is driving hard to open the scenic corridor between Picton and Havelock to the public, with some restrictions, from Monday evening. The Recovery Team was set up in response to the 17 July storm, which caused extensive damage to the roading network in the province.
Queen Charlotte Drive was one of a number of roads badly affected by the weather event, which triggered many landslides and slips along its length. Today’s Queen Charlotte Drive announcement was a major milestone, said Marlborough Roads Recovery Manager, Steve Murrin.
There are restrictions for vehicles and towing of up to 12.6 metres in length – essentially a single truck unit or small vehicle with a trailer – because of the fragility of the road, said Mr Murrin.
Prior to the damage, heavy class vehicles were not allowed on Queen Charlotte Drive from Dalziels Bridge near Linkwater back to Shakespeare Bay, near Picton. That restriction has now been extended the full length of the road.
“We had more than 100 faults along Queen Charlotte Drive and the biggest slip was over 3000 cubic metres. There were also 32 under slips and 11 culverts suffered damage – it’s a major achievement to get to this point but the work is ongoing across 16 complex roadworks sites,” said Mr Murrin.
Construction will continue along the 32km route, which provides access for hundreds of residents and holiday homes along its length as well as being a popular scenic drive for visitors to the region, through to October 2022.
Cullen Point near Havelock, where a large section of the road slipped away, still requires extensive restoration work and traffic controls will be in place for months to come. “There will be ongoing disruption and the public should expect delays – there is still a lot of work to do,” said Mr Murrin.
“Queen Charlotte Drive is fragile and it is susceptible, like most of our other roads around Marlborough, to any ongoing weather events. But getting this public access in place is great news,” he said.
The Council will also issue an Antenno alert when the public access opens on Queen Charlotte Drive.
For the Kenepuru Road and its associated side roads, work is continuing on a daily basis but it’s unfortunately going to be a longer road to recovery for residents, property owners and businesses in that area, said Mr Murrin.
Awatere Valley Road was the last stretch of Marlborough’s roading network to be assessed by roading engineers, following the July flood event. The storm left over 150 faults from McRae Stream to Molesworth, ranging from minor slips to complex issues — such as massive washouts of the Limestone Bridge.
The Awatere Valley Road, from McRae Stream to Molesworth, is currently closed to the public and has now been classified as ‘controlled access for residents only’.
Marlborough Roads is working closely with farmers, to move stock and feed to address animal welfare issues. About 200 overdue calves were able to leave the valley this week under tightly controlled supervision.
More information will be available in the coming weeks to advise timelines for public access.
Anyone who needs support as a result of the July storm should contact the Council at:
For the latest road status before you start your journey, please visit the Marlborough Emergency Management Official Public Information Map:
To stay up to date on the latest roading alerts, go to:
Convoy passes are no longer required for Queen Charlotte Drive, once public access begins on Monday. Convoy passes may be re-instated in parts of the roading network, as recovery continues. Updates on convoy passes will be posted here:
For roading information and queries please contact Marlborough Roads on 03 520 8024 or 0800 213 213 between 8.00 am - 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday. Alternatively, you can email the recovery team at: