7 Nov 2018

Quake recovery effort takes UK engineering award

12:08 pm on 7 November 2018

Work to restore road and rail access after the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake has won a coveted international engineering award.

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A road damaged in Kaikōura after the earthquake. Photo: RNZ / Maja Burry

It was the first time entrants outside of the United Kingdom could enter the Institution of Civil Engineers People's Choice Award in the organisation's 200-year history.

There were 194km of road left damaged, with 85 landslides and 1500 damaged sites across State Highway 1 alone.

It took two million man hours and 1700 people to move nearly one million cubic metres of rock and debris off State Highway 1 and rail line.

That's enough to fill 400 olympic-sized swimming pools.

New Zealand Transport Agency regional director Steve Mutton said hundreds of workers spent months away from their families.

Mr Mutton said teams abseiled to remove boulders and poured concrete around the tides through winter to make it possible to open the road by Christmas 2017.

Meanwhile, an army of helicopter pilots drenched the cliffs using monsoon buckets, to move material in the first few months after the earthquake.

"It was a civil engineering triumph to get the transport networks re-opened by last Christmas, this award is recognition of all that effort," he said.

The award went to the New Zealand Transport Agency, KiwiRail ad the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) alliance last night at a ceremony in London.

The project competed against nine other engineering feats.

This included Scotland's largest infrastructure project in a generation, The Forth Replacement Crossing- a 2.7km bridge linking Edinburgh with cities in the north.