Exactly three years after State Highway 1 reopened following the Kaikōura earthquake, the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) Alliance have been farewelled from Kaikōura. Many NCTIR workers past and present gathered for the ceremony which included unveiling a new town entry sign and two tekoteko (carved pillars), both blessed by Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura.
The NCTIR Alliance was established after the November 2016 earthquake by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and KiwiRail in partnership with Fulton Hogan; Downer, HEB Construction and Higgins.
Minister of Transport Michael Wood said Tuesday’s celebration acknowledged a “massive project, $1.2 billion project involving nearly 9,000 people.”
“This project leaves a strong legacy. The roads have been engineered to be more resilient and safer, we have wider roads, guard rails along key areas and that’s going to help us to save lives and prevent injuries in the years to come,” Minister Wood said at the event.
NCTIR Project Director Tony Gallagher describes the disaster rebuild as “one of the most significant engineering challenges in New Zealand’s history” that was only possible because of the support of the community.
“It’s been a privilege and humbling to be so warmly welcomed by the community and mana whenua over the last four years. We could not have achieved what we did without that partnership – this is an experience that will stay with us forever.”
Although the project is officially completed, a small team will be working south of Kaikōura in the New Year to complete the final piece of work, a new rock fall protection canopy.