Celebrating and recognising the best civil engineering projects, those that have made a positive impact on their local area and communities. As ICE celebrates its 200th anniversary, this year’s award includes international projects for the first time.
On 14 November 2016, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit in Kaikōura, New Zealand. The epic jolt resulted from the country’s strongest ground acceleration on record. Nearly 1 million cubic metres of rock and debris fell onto roads and the rail line, enough to fill 400 Olympic swimming pools.
There were 194 kilometres of road left damaged, with 85 landslides and 1,500 damaged sites across State Highway 1 (SH1) alone. On the Main North Line railway, 950 rail sites and 20 tunnels were damaged. Of the 150 kilometres of rail damaged, large sections of the line were pushed right into the sea.
The earthquake left Kaikōura and neighbouring communities completely cut off. New Zealand-wide, road and rail movements were heavily impacted.
The NZ Transport Agency and KiwiRail quickly formed a unique partnership to respond to this emergency. Given the importance of these rail and road links to many communities, reconnection had to be done quickly but safely.
After a herculean effort, the rail line was open to freight trains just ten months after tracks had been thrown into the sea, with the harbour back in operation exactly a year after the earthquake. SH1 was open to motorists again after just one year, one month, and one day.
By December 2017, 1,700 people had worked more than two million hours to move mountains and rebuild the road and railway. This work reconnected communities isolated by the earthquake and restored fractured freight networks. read on . . .