A 7.8 Magnitude Earthquake and the Award-Winning Ingenuity that Followed

Earlier this month, the Kaikōura Earthquake Recovery Project was voted by the general public as their favourite civil engineering project globally by the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE). Being a WSP Opus project, this worldwide recognition underpins the impactful work done by our people over the past two years to reconnect the local community.

The prestigious People’s Choice award recognizes the top civil engineering project of the year, reflecting the positive impact civil engineering has on the communities these projects transform. Ten international projects were shortlisted for the award including the $4.5 billion Harbour Area Treatment Scheme to improve water quality in Hong Kong, the $2.5 billion Queensferry Crossing in Scotland and the Hyderabad Metro Rail Project in India.


WSP Opus’ Matthew Thomson, ICE Representative for New Zealand, says it’s heart-warming to see the Kaikōura Earthquake Recovery Team recognised on the world stage.


“As it’s a people choice award, this win reflects just how much the communities valued the team’s ingenuity and many hours of work (over 2 million) to restore road and rail connections. On behalf of ICE in New Zealand, thank you for showcasing this great work and highlighting the vital role our profession plays in resilience.”



On November 14, 2016, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Kaikōura, New Zealand. The jolt resulted from the country’s strongest ground acceleration on record. Nearly 1 million cubic metres of rock and debris fell onto roads and the rail line, enough to fill 400 Olympic swimming pools.

WSP Opus in conjunction with the NZ Transport Agency and Kiwi Rail joined to form NCTIR Alliance. From early 2017, NCTIR led the recovery and rebuild phases with the assistance of numerous members of our global team. This is a fantastic opportunity for worldwide recognition on the impactful work done by our people over the past two years to reconnect the local community.



Recognizing the top civil engineering projects worldwide for the year, the ICE People’s Choice award is given to the project that receives the most votes. Ten civil engineering projects are nominated every year. Additional information about the ICE award and nominees can be found here.

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