Following the successful trialling of the Australian New South Wales (NSW) Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) Assessed Risk Level (ARL) for slope risk assessment and mitigation works identification, Waka Kotahi is looking to adopt the NSW ARL approach for future projects.
Currently Waka Kotahi assess slope risks through their Network Outcomes Contractors as part of their prescribed process presented in the annual plan instructions where a Rockfall Hazard Rating (RHR) is determined for troublesome slopes. From these ratings Waka Kotahi remediates/mitigates slopes of concern through engagement of consultants for design followed by procurement. Currently they have no method or approach to identity whether such designed schemes attain an acceptable level of risk.
The NSW ARL approach requires inspections and assessments to be undertaken by accredited persons. Currently accreditation can only be obtained by attending the accredited course in Australia. In line with their intent to continue with this approach, Waka Kotahi has developed its own accreditation course which will cover the new Waka Kotahi/NZTA ARL approach, being a variant of the NSW approach. Successful accreditation will be required to undertake slope assessments on behalf of Waka Kotahi.
Waka Kotahi is currently preparing its country amendment which will detail the parts of the NSW RMS approach that will be adopted together with a small number of modifications to align better to New Zealand conditions.
The first course was intended to run in March 2020 but was postponed due to Covid-19. A revised date in October is currently being worked on and Waka Kotahi will likely run two courses centred in the North Island and will look towards another course (or two) in 2021 possibly in the South Island.
Upon successful completion of the course, participants will be accredited to undertake slope assessments for Waka Kotahi. Those who are considered to fall short of accreditation will be required to undertake a determined number of assessments under the supervision of an accredited person before being accredited; and those either failing the course, or unable to complete it, would need to redo the course (if they wish at further cost).
Accreditation will be valid for five years at which time evidence that slope assessments have been undertaken will be required and, subject to satisfactory demonstration, accreditation will be extended for a further five years. Those unable to demonstrate they have been undertaking slope assessments may be required to undertake a refresher course and/or work under supervision.
Those seeking more information can contact ARL_Course@nzta.govt.nz