East Coast Recovery Alliance work to get underway

In News4 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJuly 13, 2023

The recovery of transport networks across Te Tairāwhiti and Te Matau a Māui – Hawke’s Bay took another step forward this week with the signing of the agreement for the recovery alliance.

The Transport Recovery: East Coast Alliance is a collaboration between Waka Kotahi, KiwiRail, Fulton Hogan, and the existing maintenance contractors for the two regions; Downer and Higgins.

The Alliance will lead the design and delivery of physical works on the state highway and rail networks over the coming years.

Waka Kotahi acting group general manager transport services Robyn Elston said a lot of work has gone into setting the Alliance up for success since the interim agreement was signed in April.

“The East Coast has a strong pool of hard-working, skilled, and experienced contractors, consultants, and businesses who understand both road building and the East Coast whenua,” she said.

“Locally owned and operated contractors will be prioritised when it comes to delivery of the physical works. There are considerable opportunities for these businesses and the East Coast first approach gives them the confidence to invest in their people, in their machinery, and in their region.”

Where possible, local suppliers will also be used to support the regional supply chain recovery, while also reducing potential carbon emissions.

The Alliance will also undertake the ongoing maintenance and operations requirements of the state highway network in Te Tairāwhiti and Te Matau a Māui – Hawke’s Bay, continuing the recovery efforts that have been ongoing since February 2023.

The Alliance is expected to be in place for several years.

“KiwiRail is committed to working with its Alliance partners to deliver a resilient recovery and rebuild effort for the people of the Hawke’s Bay region,” saysaids Programme Director Daniel Headifen.

“Since shortly after the cyclone hit, KiwiRail teams and our contractors have been out on the ground working to repair, reinstate and reopen key rail lines across the region. The formation of this Alliance is another key step in that process.

“We are already using local sub-contractors, where we can, and are committed to continuing that effort as the rebuild progresses.”

Elston said people were given another reminder of the impact that climate change and increasing severe weather events are having on the East Coast late last month.

“We need our transport networks to be resilient to the impacts of climate change, to ensure that communities can stay connected now and into the future.”

Following Cyclone Gabrielle, the Government topped up the National Land Transport Fund by $250 million to cover the cost of emergency repairs and earmarked a further $275 million for this work in Budget 2023.

“This funding has allowed both Waka Kotahi and councils in affected areas to get on with repairs to both state highways and local roads to reconnect communities as soon as possible,” Elston said.

“Cyclone Gabrielle has shown these are more than just roads to our communities.

“The signing is a considerable milestone, but there is still lots of work ahead to ensure the state highway network reflects current and future needs and aspirations for connections across the East Coast.”