Multi-lingual solution for tourists confused by earthquake routes

Some tourists are still trying to access Kaikoura and Christchurch using State Highway 1 despite slips blocking the road ...
IAIN MCGREGOR/FAIRFAX NZ

Some tourists are still trying to access Kaikoura and Christchurch using State Highway 1 despite slips blocking the road following the November 14 earthquake.

A multi-lingual publication is on its way to prevent out-of-date GPS devices leading tourists down the quake-stricken highway.

Four months on from the November 14 earthquake and tourists are still trying to access Kaikoura and Christchurch through State Highway 1 from Marlborough.

In an effort to curb incorrect routing, a South Island travel guide with updated road conditions will be printed in 10 different languages by the NZ Transport Agency.

A manned checkpoint at Clarence is still turning away cars of tourists despite the multiple slips blocking SH1.
ALISTAIR HUGHES/FAIRFAX NZ

A manned checkpoint at Clarence is still turning away cars of tourists despite the multiple slips blocking SH1.

NZTA earthquake recovery manager Steve Mutton said many tourists used GPS devices which accessed pre-quake maps to send them on impossible routes.

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"It's a real concern for us," he said.

'It's a real concern for us': NZTA earthquake recovery manager Steve Mutton says many tourists used GPS devices which ...
GEORGE HEARD/FAIRFAX NZ

'It's a real concern for us': NZTA earthquake recovery manager Steve Mutton says many tourists used GPS devices which accessed pre-quake maps. (File photo).

"We're doing everything possible to keep drivers informed even if their GPS is not up-to-date."

Mutton could not say how many tourists were still trying to access Kaikoura from the north using SH1, but noted the manned checkpoint in Clarence was still turning away multiple vehicles every day.

The guide, which would be printed in early April, was expected to be printed in Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Simple Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Japanese, Arabic and more.

The free guides would be distributed on the ferries entering Picton and coincide with intercom and television announcements.

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"It must be very frustrating for them, so people need to make sure their maps are up-to-date and ensure that they are taking the correct way," Mutton said.

"We feel having this guide in different languages will help.

"The NZTA wants to do everything possible so that not only tourists but New Zealanders have a good experience on our roads."

Road signs were reviewed by the NZTA every month to ensure they displayed the most up-to-date information, Mutton said.

There were no plans to make these signs in languages other than English as it was too difficult for drivers to read the message as they went past, he said.

The SH1 diversion added three hours to the Picton to Christchurch journey, using SH63, 65, 6 and 7, and altered traffic flows for the top of the South Island.

The route was longer than before and people should plan their journey by ensuring to take enough breaks along the way, Mutton said.

 - The Marlborough Express

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