Though the wet winter months will provide some challenges for the Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū Tararua Highway Alliance team, there is still plenty of work to do across the alignment during this time.
One of the most affected teams is the project's earthworks crews, who get the majority of their work done in the drier summer months. However, they will continue to move earth whenever weather permits, following the approval of the project's winter works consent by Horizons Regional Council.
Winter works consents are common practice on infrastructural projects featuring significant earthworks, such as Te Ahu a Turanga, which has a total of six million cubic metres of earth to be moved over its duration.
The consent allows for certain earthworks activity to take place over winter, with appropriate measures in place to prevent erosion and maintain sediment controls during times of increased rainfall.
Our environmental teams are a crucial component of this work, as they manage the monitoring and maintaining of the many sediment control devices along the alignment, and help to stabilise areas where work won't be happening over winter to reduce the risk of erosion and sediment run off.
Throughout winter last year, our earthworks team were able to move about 400,000 cubic metres of earth. They'll be aiming to get as many cubic metres moved as possible this winter but they'll also focus on maintenance work on equipment in preparation for the construction ahead.
Te Ahu a Turanga has two on-site workshops along the alignment where a team of mechanics conduct maintenance on more than 180 pieces of machinery operating across the site.
Rain days present our mechanics with the chance to do maintenance and repair work while the machinery isn't required on site.
Work on the project's six structures will largely continue across the winter. Two of the minor structures, Bridges 1 and 10, are structurally complete and piling works on the Parahaki Bridge and the Eco Viaduct are well advanced. Work is under way on the Bridge 5 underpass and planning is ongoing for Bridge 7.
Our landscaping teams are in full swing, as winter is the time when they do the bulk of their work. We're looking to plant more than 530,000 plants this season to complement the 250,000 planted last year.
Multiple helicopter flights will take place over the next few months, as the teams transport the plants across the multiple planting properties.
For more information, please head to https://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/te-ahu-a-turanga/