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QRS wins construction award for Rangatahi Drop-out repair in Mahia

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A challenging coastal road drop-out repair has won Quality Roading and Services (QRS) a regional construction award.

The Civil Construction New Zealand (CCNZ) Hawke’s Bay East Coast award recognises the quality of a 7.3m high x 14m wide sea wall built into a cliff face on Mahia East Coast Rd.

QRS chief executive Jeremy Harker says everything about the build was challenging including its remote location, the rough sea below, the wind and tide, road closures, and strict environmental conditions.

“This award is an honour, and I’m thrilled the whole construction team has been acknowledged for delivering a sophisticated coastal road solution.”

Rangatahi Drop-Out on Mahia East Coast Rd occurred after years of coastal erosion undermined a wooden crib wall that was helping to hold the road 35m up above the Pacific Ocean. In May 2020 Wairoa District Council (WDC) secured $1.2 million in funding from the Government’s post-Covid Shovel-Ready fund to fix the drop-out.

Land Development and Engineering (LDE) designed a solution. The challenge for QRS and its construction manager Mike Wilson, was to figure out how to build it.

QRS brought in engineering specialists to install ground anchors into the cliff wall to strengthen the bank. Reinforced mesh was installed to prevent rockfall during construction. During the next phase cranes were used to lower skip bin-loads of massive rocks to the base. An excavator was also lowered down! QRS then secured the cliff face with 204 enormous Redi-Rock blocks and put them together “using a process not too dissimilar to a Lego-like design,” explained Mr Wilson.

To further support the cliff, the walls beneath, and on either side of the wall were sprayed with reinforced Shotcrete, and a 30m long x 1.5m high section of rock revetment was installed at the base to protect against future erosion.

Beforehand, and during construction, WDC and QRS identified what was culturally important to local iwi and put solutions in place, says Mr Wilson. “Rather than disturbing neighbouring tapu sites we used cranes to lift equipment down. And we made sure road closures didn’t impact people trying to get to the nearby boat ramp.”

“Direct contact with people who live and work on the road, advertising, social media, and school newsletter submissions meant we kept people up to date with what to expect.”

Mr Wilson and project supervisor Arnold Smith accepted the construction award on behalf of QRS during CCNZ’s formal dinner and award ceremony in Hastings this month. Other QRS and WDC staff were present.

Mr Wilson acknowledged the Government and WDC for securing the funding and the specialist subcontractors involved in the challenging repair including Rock Control, Duracrete, Lattey Group, McLeods Concreting, and Combined Road and Traffic Services.

The judges said QRS won the construction award because ‘they adapted to a range of issues and took everything within their stride. They got the job done to a high standard whilst maintaining a no-injuries tally. It was an impressive build with very little to work with.’

In congratulating QRS on its regional award, Wairoa Mayor Craig Little said this was an example of working collaboratively, with safety, roading resilience and connectivity the positive outcomes for Mahia and Wairoa district.

“I acknowledge the WDC staff who secured the funding and the work of QRS and their contractors. This was a demanding project. It’s fitting that the versatility and skillsets of QRS staff and contractors have been acknowledged. Well done to you all.”

25 November 2021

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Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini. My strength is not mine alone, it is the strength of many.

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