Comments and opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of Waka Kotahi
Slope Assessed Risk Level Course(s)
The Waka Kotahi/NZTA ARL slope assessment courses previously detailed in the June and December 2020 Geomechanics News, have been delayed by Covid-19 due to the international travel restrictions applied by the New Zealand Government affecting the Australian trainers. The resurgence of C-19D has resulted in a further change to February 2022, though looking at two courses running centred in the North Island and a further course (or two) in October/November 2022 likely in the South Island. Those who were accepted for the first course will retain first right of refusal for that course with the additional course to be provided to enable further participation.
Those seeking more information can contact ARL_Course@nzta.govt.nz
First rockfall canopy in New Zealand
Kaikoura has seen many rockfall protection systems being constructed as part of the NCTIR works; from meshed areas to bunds and fences and now the completed (and first in Australasia) rockfall canopy. There’s a paper about its construction in this issue so I will leave you to read that but would like to acknowledge the tireless inputs of the NCTIR design and CPS teams and the main suppliers Geobrugg and RockControl.
S6 Bridges, geotechnical structures and other significant structures
The latest version of S6 policy was published in February 2020 and introduces geotechnical structures for the first time: S6_Waka Kotahi
The next step is the production of a geotechnical structures specific policy (S7) together with an associated inspection manual and course. We are currently working on this in the anticipation of implementation in 2022 subject to ratification and funding. If you have any aspects that you feel would merit consideration be sure to let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org
Geotechnical Manual: Good idea?
We are currently considering a ‘geotechnical manual’ which would sit alongside the Bridge manual. The geotechnical manual would be developed over a number of years (added to) to become the source of geotechnical requirements and guidance. Initially the document would pull together all the current geotechnical aspects covered by many NZTA/WK documents including the State Highway Procurement Manuals, which would be an immediate benefit for practitioners!
If you have any views, again let us know: email@example.com
We are all aware of the lack of visibility of research done on WK projects and how the sharing of such work could be beneficial to designers and reduce future project costs where similar conditions prevail. We are looking at pulling these together and include them on the HIP (Highways Information Portal) for easy access. Of course, we don’t necessarily know of all the research that has been done for Transit/NZTA/Waka Kotahi, so if you are aware of any; have a copy under your computer monitor or holding the back door open, or even somewhere on that flash drive, it would be great to receive a copy to be added: firstname.lastname@example.org
In our separate organisations we hear so much about ‘lessons learnt’ but sadly (in my personal experience) such lessons seldom reach our designers. In this edition you’ll find an interesting paper on lessons learnt at NCTIR. A number of us are passionate about promulgating what we have learnt to the benefit of those that follow. You could use your influence to do the same in your organisation! Thanks to the NZGS for providing a vehicle to do this outside of conferences.
Independent Professional Advisors
Our procurement team is updating the IPA process. In the geotechnical space there are a few changes (subject to ratification) that may be of interest. The process now recognises the individual rather than their organisation which opens up IPA applications to more of the profession. Have also been successful in recognising not only those with long standing experience who are not chartered, but also Professional Engineering Geologists (PEngGeol). I expect this will result in a more diverse range of skill sets being available to Waka Kotahi
Passing of colleagues
I’d just like to take a moment of your time to acknowledge our missing colleagues (so many over the last twelve months) who have given to, and guided, our industry. We all read the obituaries and ponder the loss of friends and colleagues and possibly our go-to ‘wise-head’. Such loss affects us all differently: I tend to associate people with (for me) something they were instrumental in. What we should also be doing though is thinking about the people around you now and make sure you say to them the things you’d wish you’d had when they are no longer here.
Climate change adaptation
It should come as no surprise that Waka Kotahi is actively looking in this space and developing its policies and requirements for the future. Whilst this is likely to take some time to come through to the industry in full, there are a number of areas that are already being actively ‘looked at’. Ability to reduce CO2 emissions and locking CO2 up are receiving favourable recognition. Implications of climate change are of course very significant not least in regard to rising groundwater, coastal inundation, sea level rise (and associated river and stream level); all of which state highways seem to follow. More landslips and debris flows are anticipated as well as more general land instability on neighbouring properties affecting the state highway. So, develop your ‘rainy’ sky thinking and look outside the box because this is all coming our way sooner than you think: and not just associated with our roading networks.