The Fulton Hogan asphalt crew celebrate a busy year. Photo courtesy of the Gisborne Herald.
The sealing of Aerodrome Road was a fitting finale to a challenging year of major investment into Tairāwhiti local roads, when creating new opportunities for the people of Tairāwhiti was just as important as the work itself.
As temperatures reached 30 degrees last week, the specialised Fulton Hogan asphalt team worked tirelessly to reach near perfection on the ‘icing’ on the $3.2m upgrade and the whole Provincial Growth Fund roading programme.
And although the team fell painfully short of completing the surface upgrade on Friday night before maxing out their permitted logbook hours, there was still plenty of reason for celebration.
After the COVID-19 lockdown, followed by flooding in July, the task for Gisborne District Council to deliver more than $50m of road upgrades safely and efficiently before the end of the year appeared to be a hard ask.
But this is Tairāwhiti – hailed for strong leadership, quick thinking and where being a close-knit community is often the greatest strength.
Partnerships were forged, tried and tested. Local and national government teams worked around the clock with local project teams to plan and prepare.
More than 250 local people were recruited and redeployed into new careers and our local developing roading contractors stepped up to build capacity, learn new skills and meet the challenge ahead.
The Tairāwhiti community came together to get the job done, to secure and complete works with central Government investment on a scale the region has never seen before.
Over 140,000 tonnes of metal laid on rural roads means safer travels to connect whānau with loved ones this festive season. The equivalent of 25 rugby fields of sealed road repairs means a stronger and more reliable transport network for hard-earned forestry and farming product to get to market.
And although many will be thinking ‘what next?’ after producing so much in a short amount of time, it’s more important that the community reflects on a testing year in which so much has been achieved for the region.