2019 IPWEA Awards

Projects over $5m

Higgins Hawke’s Bay  with partners NZTA, Napier City Council, Hawke’s Bay Airport, WSP Opus, Stantec, Beca and GHD won the award for- Projects over $5m, for The Kuaka Gateway (Watchman Road) Project.   Higgins Hawke’s Bay also received a highly commended from the judges in the same category for the Whakatu Project.

Officially opened in September 2018, the Kuaka Gateway was designed to improve safety at one of the country’s most dangerous intersections (SH2-SH2B), unlock economic growth and create an iconic northern gateway for Napier and the Heretaunga Plains.

In 2016, the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) allocated funding to design and construct an improved intersection and access to the Napier airport. In April 2017 Higgins commenced construction. The projects major challenges included a very demanding timeframe as well as an extremely high profile and a sensitive environmental site location.

Key project objectives outlined twin safety and environmental outcomes. The design was the result of close collaboration between NZTA and its partners, the Napier City Council, Hawke’s Bay Airport; and with Māna Ahuriri Trust and Ngāti Kahungunu, and a design and consenting team led by WSP Opus but also including Stantec, GHD, Beca, local artist Jacob Scott, and wildlife specialist Tony Billing.

There was a deliberate best practice approach to environmental planning, engineering and landscape design, built-in Te Aranga  principles, and an outcomes-based  approach  to stakeholder engagement, ensuring  the  project demonstrated how major infrastructure projects can be designed and delivered with net positive impacts even within the most sensitive sites.

The project delivered all project objectives and was completed some weeks ahead of schedule. A collaborative, holistic view to problem solving; and strong stakeholder engagement transformed a traffic  blackspot into a safer intersection and an admired environmental outcome for the community.

Rob Partridge, Senior Project Manager at the NZ Transport Agency says, “We are absolutely thrilled with the recognition this project has received. We know that much of the project’s success was because of the feedback and advice our community and stakeholders gave us. By setting up a ‘connection group’ with residents, estuary protection advocates and tangata whenua we were able to create an asset that the community can be proud of. We now have not only a safe intersection, but one that preserves the environment, visually tells our story and provides a fantastic new gateway to the region.”

He went on to say, “We couldn’t have delivered this project to such a high standard without our key consultants and contractors, OPUS, Stantec and Higgins along with our key partners and advisors, Mana Ahuriri, Tony Billings (wildlife expert) and Jacob Scott (artist).”

Image left to right: IPWEA Presenter, Rob Patridge (NZTA), Mike Job (Higgins), Ralph Fouche (Stantec), Steyn Stefan (Opus), William Gray (Opus), IPWEA Presenter