The Kaikoura earthquake created widespread damage across the top half of the South Island with a centralised focus around Kaikoura. The earthquake caused substantial damage to both State Highway 1 (Road) and the Main North Line (Rail) causing both routes to close. The road and rail closure were estimated to cost the country approximately $3million a week.
Opening the road and rail to get access back to Kaikoura and linking the top half of the South Island with the bottom half was a government priority. This would involve shifting over 1million cubic metres of material (enough to fill the Wellington stadium), while working in a very dangerous and challenging environment, all within one year. The challenge was further compounded with limited resources and facilities in the local area and need a significant work force to complete the task. Costing an estimated $1.3billion and spanning from Christchurch all the way to Blenheim, this would end up being New Zealand’s largest infrastructure job - required in a very condensed timeframe.
Shortly following the earthquake, the Government introduced the Hurunui/Kaikoura Earthquake Recovery Act 2016 and formed the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery Alliance (NCTIR). The NZ Transport Agency, KiwiRail, Heb, Higgins, Downer and Fulton Hogan made up the NCTIR Alliance with several consultants brought in to help restore the transport network.
TPG was commissioned on behalf of NCTIR to undertake all property related tasks including acquisition, leasing, and licences. This involved a TPG employee being embedded within NCTIR, and ongoing support from the wider TPG Team.
With all property matters required to be worked through in accordance with the Public Works Act 1981, we were required to work smarter to achieve a faster outcome. One of the innovations that TPG came up with was a $1 Advance Compensation Agreement, which enabled ownership (by the Transport Agency or KiwiRail) of the land for a specific project, while also protecting the owner’s rights to compensation. This innovation won a NCTIR innovation award as we were able to secure the land within a matter of days/weeks instead of months/years.
TPG delivered the property requirements on time, and through our contribution NCTIR achieved key milestones of opening the road, rail and marina all within the targeted timeframe of December 2017 (approximately one year from the earthquake). NCTIR’s innovation and hard work has been recognised internationally and nationally, winning various awards across multiple disciplines.