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Tarakani Waikato Link Upgrade Wins Award



The successful restoration and upgrade of State Highway 3 on Stockman's Hill, Mahoenui, has won a Merit Award for its designer and project manager Opus International Consultants (Opus), from the Association of Consulting Engineers of New Zealand (ACENZ) at their annual conference in August. The awards recognise outstanding innovation and execution of a consulting engineering project.

The roading upgrade impressed ACENZ judges with the scale of work completed within a single construction season, its demonstrated improvements in safety for road users and the reduced risk of highway closure due to slips. Ian Cox, Transit New Zealand Regional Highways Engineer, says the project's size, technical complexity and tight timeframe made it one of the most ambitious projects ever tackled by Transit's Hamilton Office.

Mr Cox says the huge effort by contractors to meet extremely tight deadlines and the wide ranging and practical approach taken by Opus to community consultation contributed to the successful outcome. At times the contractor Fulton Hogan had up to 65 people working around the clock to achieve the progress required.

Rebuilding the road pushed the technical boundaries as well as the clock says Opus' Asset Development Engineer and Project Manager Nigel D'Ath. "The highway was rebuilt at nine slip sites on Stockman's Hill. At the main slip site, highway stabilisation was achieved by constructing a 15m high `geogrid' or mechanically stabilised earth (MSE) wall, the largest of its type in New Zealand. At a second site, a double MSE wall was constructed to support the highway along the narrow ridgeline."

A 26km two-way detour capable of carrying 3000 vehicles per day, including heavy vehicles, was constructed to allow traffic to bypass the construction site. Mr D'Ath says this was critical to completing the upgrade in the single construction season. In a remarkable feat, 14km of Totoro Road was upgraded and sealed in under 8 weeks - less than half the normal expected time. Opus was also successful with three other projects at the 2000 ACENZ Awards. These were:

The adidas Institute of Rugby at Massey University's Palmerston North Campus received a Gold Award for its unique design, exemplary project management during construction and outstanding operational performance post construction.

The design of a new kura kaupapa school in Christchurch received a Silver Award for the creative design solution produced for this unique Maori language primary school.

The Horseshoe Bend Hydro-Electric Scheme at Teviot in Central Otago received a Merit Award for its innovative first-use of Roller- Compacted Concrete (RCC) for such a project in New Zealand.

Opus was formerly the design arm of the Ministry of Works and Development which was purchased in 1997 by Malaysian company Kinta Kellas. The company remains focussed on the New Zealand market and has almost 1100 staff operating from 33 offices around the country. Permanent international offices are located in Western Australia, Malaysia and England.



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