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Prioritising sensitive local ecology and stakeholder engagement leads to a groundbreaking new state highway across the Manawatū and Tararua.

Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū Tararua Highway

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

11.5km of road

2 million new trees and plants

6 bridges along the route

350 workers at any one time

In April 2017, severe weather caused major slips on State Highway 3 (SH3) through the Manawatū Gorge. This is a major route connecting the Manawatū, Tararua, Hawke’s Bay and northern Wairarapa Districts.

The road was closed and traffic was diverted via local roads which are not of State Highway standard, increasing  risk of accidents and travel times. A safe, resilient and efficient replacement transport route was required.

Client
Waka Kotahi

WSP Project Team

Project Alliance Board Member: Keryn Kliskey
WSP Project Director: Mark Marshall
WSP Project Manager: Michael Chan
Design Manager: Michael Chan
Geometrics Lead: Gayathri Sankar
Construction Phase Services Lead: Wayne Stewart
Sustainability: Kate Chivers/Rowan Dixon
Planning/Consents/Iwi engagement (pre Alliance): Kumeroa Pihama
Archaeology: Patrick Harsvedlt
Roads Lead: Road Engineering: Sara Mura
Stormwater & Hydraulics: Josh Irvine
Pavements: Moumy Dsarma
ITS: Paul Addy
Lighting: Andy Collins
Utilities & Power: Kristen Jensen

Alliance partners 
Fulton Hogan, HEB Construction and Aurecon

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Our client, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, proposed a new 11.5km route for SH3 connecting with SH57 south of Ashhurst and SH2 west of Woodville. The route presents several challenges: it travels through high-value and sensitive ecological areas, an operating wind farm, and crosses multiple seismic faults. Minimising impacts on ecology, windfarm operations and maintenance, and managing landowner and stakeholder expectations are essential to this project.

PROJECT CHALLENGES

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OUR SOLUTION

Together with our Alliance partners, (Fulton Hogan, HEB, Aurecon and Waka Kotahi) we proposed a route that was partially outside the original Notice of Requirement designation to minimise impact on the ecology of the area, while also avoiding the decommissioning of any wind turbines. Our team’s design incorporates improvements to make the road more resilient during earthquakes and slips, provides ecological enhancements and develops new community facilities.

The new road will have a traffic lane and a crawler lane in each direction over most of the route, separated by a median strip and new bridge crossing the Manawatū River. The route includes separated walking and cycling facilities. Currently our team, including iwi partners Rangitāne o Manawatū, Rangitāne o Tamaki Nui-a-Rua, Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāti Raukawa have worked together to refine the road’s design and incorporate mahi toi.

Our team has completed consenting activities and designing enabling works. Construction commenced in the summer of 2020/21. It is scheduled to be completed in December 2024.

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OUR INSIGHTS

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STORMWATER: JOSH IRVINE

WSP undertook stormwater design and hydraulic modelling services [IJ1] for the new road alignment and Josh led a design team that delivered culvert and stream channel solutions for the complex project.

Key design challenges included the requirement for a parallel design and consenting process, the proximity of the Te Āpiti wind farm and the steep topography. Innovative design, associated with the nature of the steep terrain and high fill embankments, was required for a number of design elements, including induced trenching and energy dissipation for some culverts.

Overall Josh’s team designed 40 culverts, 30 re-aligned streams and 90 cut-off drains across the project, as part of the wider drainage team.

“This involved ensuring that the deep culverts will withstand the weight of the very high embankments, that water is safely conveyed underneath the highway and will be free of flooding, facilitating fish passage and ensuring streams retain ecological value. This had to be done while minimising any impact on the environment, implementing Te Ao Māori values and working with the other disciplines to resolve potential clashes and integrate the wider design.”

Meeting these challenges required innovative thinking. Josh says the use of drop structures for culverts, induced trenching and void filled riprap, was particularly pioneering as it’s an uncommon use in New Zealand. This approach resulted in reduced costs, a reduced earthwork footprint and increased ecological and environmental benefits.

A standout of the project for Josh was the experience of working with the people and industry experts within the Alliance.

 “The amount of design required for projects of this scale is significant, but with great technical expertise, leadership and collaborative working, projects can be successfully delivered with great community outcomes. The incorporation of Te Ao Māori values into the design process and the visit to the Te Hotu Manawa O Rangitaane O Manawatū Marae as an Alliance was also a unique, enlightening and rewarding experience for me,” he says.

More detail on the stormwater design can be found here:

https://www.wsp.com/en-NZ/projects/manawatu-highway-stormwater-design

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SUSTAINABILTY LEAD:
KATE SHIVERS

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Te Ahu a Turanga is the first Waka Kotahi project to undergo ISCA, a comprehensive sustainability system that has required a commitment from the entire team to perform well.

ISCA is Australia and New Zealand’s only comprehensive rating system for evaluating sustainability across the planning, design, construction and operational phases of infrastructure programs, projects, networks and assets.

Kate is responsible for integrating sustainability and ISCA throughout the project, supporting and advocating sustainable outcomes for the duration of the project, and overall ensuring an IS Rating is achieved. She is supported in this by Dr Rowan Dixon, who focuses on key sustainable outcomes, such as climate change reporting and building base cases, in order to show measured reduction in energy, material and water consumption, and waste creation.

As a result of a strong commitment by the Alliance to achieving an ISCA rating, Te Ahu a Turanga is projected to exceed the Commended certification and receive an Excellent rating.

Kate says this ground-breaking achievement in sustainability has been attained through embedding sustainable decision making into procurement and reporting on live ISCA data as to how the project is tracking.

This, she says, has required bringing the industry on the ISCA journey. Education of  suppliers and subcontractors on the new expectations has been key as they need to provide data on materials, have environmental and sustainability plans and policies and approaches, and the value of supporting and employing local.

Qualitative assessment of tenders has included requiring a minimum of 21% coming from non-price attributes. High risk social and environmental packages have been assessed against a required evaluation of the tender’s proposal and organisation in

  • Sustainable management
  • Local Employment
  • Social & training
  • Resource Efficiency 

In addition, real live tracking of material, fuel, water consumption and waste creation has enabled consistent consideration of the impact decisions have on these targets.

Kate says that the culture of the Alliance is something she’s never experienced before.

“It’s a phenomenal culture to be part of and is really lead from the top down and reciprocated from the bottom up.


I’ve been impressed by the way the Alliance has engaged with and contributed towards the ISCA rating. Often there is a level of resistance towards this type of thing, but the level of involvement – and the success we’re achieving for the project – is inspiring.”

As a result, Kate says the project is delivering incredible outcomes in iwi partnership, ecology, stakeholder engagement, broader social outcomes, and impressive utilisation of site-won materials.

“All these elements align with a really great ISCA score, allowing the project to not only be the first Waka Kotahi project to undertake ISCA, but also set a remarkable benchmark for future Waka Kotahi projects.”

Success on Te Ahu a Turanga will be transferable to ISCA implementation on other roading programs. Kate says templates and systems have been built that will allow even better outcomes for the next project.

“At the core of sustainability is continued improvement, for the next project I would hope to see greater reduction on the energy, water, materials, and waste footprints.”

Scroll for more

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ROADS LEAD: GAYATHRI SANKAR

Geometric design is the backbone of Te Ahu a Turanga project, linking all other design elements like stormwater, geotechnical, earthworks and structures. Gayathri led the design team to produce a coherent alignment for the highway, along with traffic services design. This comprised of design of the state highway and shared use path alignment, barriers, signs and line markings, road lighting and ITS design.

The roading design work delivered some notable positive outcomes including a significantly reduced impact on the ecologically-sensitive QEII covenanted area, avoidance of all windfarm turbines and enhanced safety. Furthermore, considerable construction time savings were realised by ensuring the design aligned with the contractor earthwork strategy. Above all, the team developed a strong design that had safety and environment, client reputation and stakeholder outcomes at the forefront.

Gayathri says that excellent communication was key to achieving these outcomes. Strong and open communication with third parties including the Heavy Vehicle User Group and the Shared Use Path Community Liaison Group meant that feedback was incorporated into modified design wherever possible.

In fact, this extensive interaction and communication with third party helped in finalising the design faster than traditional methods.

This commitment to going above and beyond providing good design was evident throughout the project.

“Within the wider project team, we were proactive in providing assistance with design for other disciplines and worked with the contractor to modify design wherever possible to align with their construction methodology. Our input into construction staging which was a valuable addition,” she says.

Gayathri says the Te Ahu a Turanga Alliance provided a great environment for innovation.

“Our approach to the design minimised consenting impact and avoided impact on the QEII area by redesigning the alignment. This redesign was a total silver bullet idea. Another thing that really stands out is having Iwi as a project partner rather than a stakeholder. All aspects of the design benefitted from this approach and it really helped the design team appreciate Iwi values, which is reflected in the design outputs.”

This included an immersive experience where the design team had a full day induction and overnight stay with Iwi.

“We spent the day learning about their values and having the entire team stay overnight at the marae was a wonderful experience – it’s a memory that will always stay with me .”

Scroll for more

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PLANNING ENGAGEMENT: KUMEROA PIHAMA

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Te Ahu a Turanga has set a new standard for engagement with Iwi. WSP’s Kumeroa Pihama was engaged in the earliest stages of the project, ensuring the proposed methodology was based on client and Iwi expectations of a new best practice.

Kumeroa says his involvement was during the Alliance bidding process for the project. This included simple terminology, influencing governance and reporting line, and integration of assumed priorities and influence of Iwi throughout disciplines that historically hadn’t been considered.  An example of this was moving Health & Safety plans into a wider wellbeing framework that considered staff, family, community and local providers, and a sustainable economy.

Within this was the preparation of the Alliance to work within a new framework and communicating our understanding of the direction the client was moving in with regards to Iwi integration.

The approach has been a game changer and is a fundamental shift in the way Iwi participate in projects.

“Iwi are treaty partners, project partners, project governance, communities and community members,” he says.

Kumeroa says lessons learnt from previous major projects, along with an understanding of the client’s intent, enabled the Alliance to promote previously unexplored opportunities.

“Communicating our understanding enabled further exploration of the methodology implementation across the board, taking a major step towards the partnership in its true sense under Te Tiriti o Waitangi.”

He says there were multiple components to the proposed methodology put forward by the Alliance including:

  • Iwi as governance with Waka Kotahi
  • Iwi as alliance members
  • Iwi as community
  • Iwi as implementers

 “For me the biggest lesson here is that we have every opportunity to align our activities with the priorities of Iwi and wider community. If we have an ongoing understanding of these priorities, we can start the conversation with a much higher alignment leading to a productive process.”

Scroll for more

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Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū Tararua Highway

Prioritising sensitive local ecology and stakeholder engagement leads to a groundbreaking new state highway across the Manawatū and Tararua.

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PROJECT DESCRIPTION

In April 2017, severe weather caused major slips on State Highway 3 (SH3) through the Manawatū Gorge. This is a major route connecting the Manawatū, Tararua, Hawke’s Bay and northern Wairarapa Districts.

The road was closed and traffic was diverted via local roads which are not of State Highway standard, increasing  risk of accidents and travel times. A safe, resilient and efficient replacement transport route was required.

icon_1.png
icon_2.png
icon_3.png
icon_4.png

11.5km of road

2 million new trees and plants

6 bridges along the route

350 workers at any one time

home_button.png (copy3)
opt35m_variousshots_012.jpg

Our client, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, proposed a new 11.5km route for SH3 connecting with SH57 south of Ashhurst and SH2 west of Woodville. The route presents several challenges: it travels through high-value and sensitive ecological areas, an operating wind farm, and crosses multiple seismic faults. Minimising impacts on ecology, windfarm operations and maintenance, and managing landowner and stakeholder expectations are essential to this project.

PROJECT CHALLENGES

home_button.png (copy3)

OUR SOLUTION

Together with our Alliance partners, (Fulton Hogan, HEB, Aurecon and Waka Kotahi) we proposed a route that was partially outside the original Notice of Requirement designation to minimise impact on the ecology of the area, while also avoiding the decommissioning of any wind turbines. Our team’s design incorporates improvements to make the road more resilient during earthquakes and slips, provides ecological enhancements and develops new community facilities.

The new road will have a traffic lane and a crawler lane in each direction over most of the route, separated by a median strip and new bridge crossing the Manawatū River. The route includes separated walking and cycling facilities. Currently our team, including iwi partners Rangitāne o Manawatū, Rangitāne o Tamaki Nui-a-Rua, Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāti Raukawa have worked together to refine the road’s design and incorporate mahi toi.

Our team has completed consenting activities and designing enabling works. Construction commenced in the summer of 2020/21. It is scheduled to be completed in December 2024.

home_button.png (copy3)

OUR INSIGHTS

cs20221_1115_the_team.png
home_button.png (copy2)

STORMWATER: JOSH IRVINE

WSP undertook stormwater design and hydraulic modelling services [IJ1] for the new road alignment and Josh led a design team that delivered culvert and stream channel solutions for the complex project.

Key design challenges included the requirement for a parallel design and consenting process, the proximity of the Te Āpiti wind farm and the steep topography. Innovative design, associated with the nature of the steep terrain and high fill embankments, was required for a number of design elements, including induced trenching and energy dissipation for some culverts.

Overall Josh’s team designed 40 culverts, 30 re-aligned streams and 90 cut-off drains across the project, as part of the wider drainage team.

“This involved ensuring that the deep culverts will withstand the weight of the very high embankments, that water is safely conveyed underneath the highway and will be free of flooding, facilitating fish passage and ensuring streams retain ecological value. This had to be done while minimising any impact on the environment, implementing Te Ao Māori values and working with the other disciplines to resolve potential clashes and integrate the wider design.”

Meeting these challenges required innovative thinking. Josh says the use of drop structures for culverts, induced trenching and void filled riprap, was particularly pioneering as it’s an uncommon use in New Zealand. This approach resulted in reduced costs, a reduced earthwork footprint and increased ecological and environmental benefits.

A standout of the project for Josh was the experience of working with the people and industry experts within the Alliance.

 “The amount of design required for projects of this scale is significant, but with great technical expertise, leadership and collaborative working, projects can be successfully delivered with great community outcomes. The incorporation of Te Ao Māori values into the design process and the visit to the Te Hotu Manawa O Rangitaane O Manawatū Marae as an Alliance was also a unique, enlightening and rewarding experience for me,” he says.

More detail on the stormwater design can be found here:

https://www.wsp.com/en-NZ/projects/manawatu-highway-stormwater-design

Scroll for more

joshua_irvine_blue_background.jpg
home_button.png (copy3)

SUSTAINABILTY LEAD:
KATE SHIVERS

kate_shivers_blue_background.jpg

Te Ahu a Turanga is the first Waka Kotahi project to undergo ISCA, a comprehensive sustainability system that has required a commitment from the entire team to perform well.

ISCA is Australia and New Zealand’s only comprehensive rating system for evaluating sustainability across the planning, design, construction and operational phases of infrastructure programs, projects, networks and assets.

Kate is responsible for integrating sustainability and ISCA throughout the project, supporting and advocating sustainable outcomes for the duration of the project, and overall ensuring an IS Rating is achieved. She is supported in this by Dr Rowan Dixon, who focuses on key sustainable outcomes, such as climate change reporting and building base cases, in order to show measured reduction in energy, material and water consumption, and waste creation.

As a result of a strong commitment by the Alliance to achieving an ISCA rating, Te Ahu a Turanga is projected to exceed the Commended certification and receive an Excellent rating.

Kate says this ground-breaking achievement in sustainability has been attained through embedding sustainable decision making into procurement and reporting on live ISCA data as to how the project is tracking.

This, she says, has required bringing the industry on the ISCA journey. Education of  suppliers and subcontractors on the new expectations has been key as they need to provide data on materials, have environmental and sustainability plans and policies and approaches, and the value of supporting and employing local.

Qualitative assessment of tenders has included requiring a minimum of 21% coming from non-price attributes. High risk social and environmental packages have been assessed against a required evaluation of the tender’s proposal and organisation in

  • Sustainable management
  • Local Employment
  • Social & training
  • Resource Efficiency 

In addition, real live tracking of material, fuel, water consumption and waste creation has enabled consistent consideration of the impact decisions have on these targets.

Kate says that the culture of the Alliance is something she’s never experienced before.

“It’s a phenomenal culture to be part of and is really lead from the top down and reciprocated from the bottom up.


I’ve been impressed by the way the Alliance has engaged with and contributed towards the ISCA rating. Often there is a level of resistance towards this type of thing, but the level of involvement – and the success we’re achieving for the project – is inspiring.”

As a result, Kate says the project is delivering incredible outcomes in iwi partnership, ecology, stakeholder engagement, broader social outcomes, and impressive utilisation of site-won materials.

“All these elements align with a really great ISCA score, allowing the project to not only be the first Waka Kotahi project to undertake ISCA, but also set a remarkable benchmark for future Waka Kotahi projects.”

Success on Te Ahu a Turanga will be transferable to ISCA implementation on other roading programs. Kate says templates and systems have been built that will allow even better outcomes for the next project.

“At the core of sustainability is continued improvement, for the next project I would hope to see greater reduction on the energy, water, materials, and waste footprints.”

Scroll for more

home_button.png (copy4)
gayathri_sankar_blue_background.jpg

ROADS LEAD: GAYATHRI SANKAR

home_button.png (copy3)

Geometric design is the backbone of Te Ahu a Turanga project, linking all other design elements like stormwater, geotechnical, earthworks and structures. Gayathri led the design team to produce a coherent alignment for the highway, along with traffic services design. This comprised of design of the state highway and shared use path alignment, barriers, signs and line markings, road lighting and ITS design.

The roading design work delivered some notable positive outcomes including a significantly reduced impact on the ecologically-sensitive QEII covenanted area, avoidance of all windfarm turbines and enhanced safety. Furthermore, considerable construction time savings were realised by ensuring the design aligned with the contractor earthwork strategy. Above all, the team developed a strong design that had safety and environment, client reputation and stakeholder outcomes at the forefront.

Gayathri says that excellent communication was key to achieving these outcomes. Strong and open communication with third parties including the Heavy Vehicle User Group and the Shared Use Path Community Liaison Group meant that feedback was incorporated into modified design wherever possible.

In fact, this extensive interaction and communication with third party helped in finalising the design faster than traditional methods.

This commitment to going above and beyond providing good design was evident throughout the project.

“Within the wider project team, we were proactive in providing assistance with design for other disciplines and worked with the contractor to modify design wherever possible to align with their construction methodology. Our input into construction staging which was a valuable addition,” she says.

Gayathri says the Te Ahu a Turanga Alliance provided a great environment for innovation.

“Our approach to the design minimised consenting impact and avoided impact on the QEII area by redesigning the alignment. This redesign was a total silver bullet idea. Another thing that really stands out is having Iwi as a project partner rather than a stakeholder. All aspects of the design benefitted from this approach and it really helped the design team appreciate Iwi values, which is reflected in the design outputs.”

This included an immersive experience where the design team had a full day induction and overnight stay with Iwi.

“We spent the day learning about their values and having the entire team stay overnight at the marae was a wonderful experience – it’s a memory that will always stay with me .”

Scroll for more

home_button.png (copy4)
kumeroa_pihama_blue_background.jpg

PLANNING ENGAGEMENT: KUMEROA PIHAMA

Te Ahu a Turanga has set a new standard for engagement with Iwi. WSP’s Kumeroa Pihama was engaged in the earliest stages of the project, ensuring the proposed methodology was based on client and Iwi expectations of a new best practice.

Kumeroa says his involvement was during the Alliance bidding process for the project. This included simple terminology, influencing governance and reporting line, and integration of assumed priorities and influence of Iwi throughout disciplines that historically hadn’t been considered.  An example of this was moving Health & Safety plans into a wider wellbeing framework that considered staff, family, community and local providers, and a sustainable economy.

Within this was the preparation of the Alliance to work within a new framework and communicating our understanding of the direction the client was moving in with regards to Iwi integration.

The approach has been a game changer and is a fundamental shift in the way Iwi participate in projects.

“Iwi are treaty partners, project partners, project governance, communities and community members,” he says.

Kumeroa says lessons learnt from previous major projects, along with an understanding of the client’s intent, enabled the Alliance to promote previously unexplored opportunities.

“Communicating our understanding enabled further exploration of the methodology implementation across the board, taking a major step towards the partnership in its true sense under Te Tiriti o Waitangi.”

He says there were multiple components to the proposed methodology put forward by the Alliance including:

  • Iwi as governance with Waka Kotahi
  • Iwi as alliance members
  • Iwi as community
  • Iwi as implementers

 “For me the biggest lesson here is that we have every opportunity to align our activities with the priorities of Iwi and wider community. If we have an ongoing understanding of these priorities, we can start the conversation with a much higher alignment leading to a productive process.”

Scroll for more