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Watchman Road / Kuaka Gateway

This project won two industry awards in 2019. The first was the IPWEA Award in the category Projects over $5m and the second the CCNZ Award in the category Projects $5m - $20m.

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.