NZ Geomechanics News

Special feature – Kaikōura Earthquake Recovery


The 14 November 2016, M7.8 Kaikōura Earthquake severely damaged the North Canterbury region. The earthquake resulted in significant ground shaking triggering widespread landslides, extensive coastal uplift on multiple faults, and a locally sourced tsunami. The earthquake caused significant damage over a very large area, closing both State Highway 1 (SH1) and the Main North Rail Line between Picton and Christchurch.

The North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) was set up by the government under the Hurunui/Kaikōura Earthquakes Recovery Act 2016. Its immediate purpose was to repair and re-open the earthquake-damaged road and rail networks on the Kaikōura Coast and the inland road (SH70) by the end of 2017. The full scope of work managed and delivered by NCTIR is summarised below:

1. Establish access to Kaikōura via SH1 south and Inland Road (Route 70) to reconnect the Kaikōura community, and enable Kaikōura to reopen as a tourist destination.

2. Strengthen and manage the roading infrastructure on the SH1 alternate route (via Lewis Pass) to cope with the extra traffic and to improve safety and journey time for customers, including:

a. Provision of a coordination role to the management and incident response needs
b. Improvement works to maintain an acceptable level of service for the increased traffic volumes
c. Provision of a coordinated management and incident response on the alternate route Picton to Christchurch Lewis Pass
d. Coordination of maintenance and incident response on the Inland Road (Route 70)

3. Re-connect the road and rail links from Kaikōura to Picton, which provide critical transport routes for freight and tourism industries to Kaikōura as well as vital access for many local communities positioned between Christchurch and Picton.

4. Restoration of the Transport System along the coastal route between Cheviot and Clarence including:

a. Design to meet the requirements of KiwiRail and the NZ Transport Agency
b. Remove slips and other damaged assets
c. Construct the works – rail and road
d. Maintenance of the safety of the public and workforce throughout

5. Design and construct safety, resilience and tourist amenity improvements on SH1 between Oaro and Clarence.

6. Reinstate a safe, functioning Kaikōura harbour.

7. Provide environmental, planning, consenting, and stakeholder management for the above works

Many members of the NZ Geotechnical Society were actively involved in the documentation of the infrastructure damage caused by the earthquake, and subsequently in the design and supervision of the repairs and improvements for resilience and reliability that were undertaken by NCTIR. In this issue, some of the team share their experiences and the lessons learnt. We are grateful to NCTIR for approval to publish the seven papers presented.



NZ Geomechanics News
NZ Geomechanics News>Issue 96 - December 2018
New Zealand>Kaikoura
Special Feature

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