Gayathri Sankar

Senior Design Manager
New Zealand

Geometric design is the backbone of Te Ahu a Turanga project, linking all other design elements like stormwater, geotechnical, earthworks and structures. Gayathri led the design team to produce a coherent alignment for the highway, along with traffic services design. This comprised of design of the state highway and shared use path alignment, barriers, signs and line markings, road lighting and ITS design.

The roading design work delivered some notable positive outcomes including a significantly reduced impact on the ecologically-sensitive QEII covenanted area, avoidance of all windfarm turbines and enhanced safety. Furthermore, considerable construction time savings were realised by ensuring the design aligned with the contractor earthwork strategy. Above all, the team developed a strong design that had safety and environment, client reputation and stakeholder outcomes at the forefront.

Gayathri says that excellent communication was key to achieving these outcomes. Strong and open communication with third parties including the Heavy Vehicle User Group and the Shared Use Path Community Liaison Group meant that feedback was incorporated into modified design wherever possible.

In fact, this extensive interaction and communication with third party helped in finalising the design faster than traditional methods.

This commitment to going above and beyond providing good design was evident throughout the project.

“Within the wider project team, we were proactive in providing assistance with design for other disciplines and worked with the contractor to modify design wherever possible to align with their construction methodology. Our input into construction staging which was a valuable addition,” she says.

Gayathri says the Te Ahu a Turanga Alliance provided a great environment for innovation.

“Our approach to the design minimised consenting impact and avoided impact on the QEII area by redesigning the alignment. This redesign was a total silver bullet idea. Another thing that really stands out is having Iwi as a project partner rather than a stakeholder. All aspects of the design benefited from this approach and it really helped the design team appreciate Iwi values, which is reflected in the design outputs.”

This included an immersive experience where the design team had a full day induction and overnight stay with Iwi.

“We spent the day learning about their values and having the entire team stay overnight at the marae was a wonderful experience – it’s a memory that will always stay with me.”