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Aurecon’s NCTIR Kaikoura Earthquake Recovery is global civil engineering project of the year

The North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) Alliance is the winner of the 2018 Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) People’s Choice Award.

Ohau Point slip and new sea wall, which were reconstructed as part of the recovery project

08 November 2018 – It has been confirmed, Aurecon’s people really do move mountains and their efforts have been recognised with the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) Alliance project Moving Mountains to Reconnect Communities announced as the winner of the 2018 Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) People’s Choice Award.

This prestigious industry award recognises the best global engineering project of the year.  Based in the UK, this is the first time the award has been open to international entries.  NCTIR had stiff competition up against a number of outstanding engineering projects from across the globe, including The Tate Museum in St Ives, England; the Hyderabad Metro Rail Project, India; and The Forth Bridge Replacement Crossing, Scotland.

Aurecon’s Managing Director, Infrastructure Ben Stapleton said the leading engineering, infrastructure and advisory company led the design delivery on behalf of NCTIR on the $1.3 Billion (NZD) Kaikoura Earthquake Recovery Program following the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck New Zealand’s South Island, roughly 60km south-west of the coastal town of Kaikoura, just after midnight on 14 November 2016. 

“We could not be more proud of this achievement and our team, particularly as the NCTIR Alliance was the only Southern Hemisphere project to make the top 10, Mr Stapleton said.

“This was more than just a rail and road opening. Families and friends were reconnected, businesses welcomed tourists back, and freight could move easily to and across the South Island.”

The earthquake twisted train tracks and ruptured road pavements.  More than 100 structures and 20 tunnels were damaged, with more than one million cubic metres of rock and other debris coming down onto the road and rail links.

In December 2016, NCTIR was formed comprising key stakeholders, the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and KiwiRail, and four of New Zealand’s largest contractors.  This was an industry first partnership.

Seán Harris, ICE Director of Membership, said: “The Kaikōura earthquake recovery project is a worthy winner of the 2018 ICE People’s Choice Award and I am pleased to see the public recognise how the project directly transformed people’s quality of life…  One of many inspiring submissions this year, the project stands out globally as not only one of the finest examples of outstanding technical achievement but also highlights the importance of civil engineering in enabling social and economic progress.”

Throughout the rebuild efforts, Aurecon led the overall design services with teams in both the roading design program and rail recovery program.

Aurecon Major Projects Director, Tim Watterson, who is the NCTIR Design Director, said what was achieved in the space of a year was simply outstanding.

“Many people didn’t think we could do it. Everyone has worked extremely hard under challenging conditions. The level of personal commitment and teamwork across NCTIR has been quite humbling and a career highlight for many,” Mr Watterson said.

“It’s great to have re-connected communities and see first-hand what this means for the region.”

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