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Christchurch Three Years On: Infrastructure specialists with an eye on anchor projects

Downer is one of the main construction teams working on the Christchurch infrastructure rebuild.

It is one of the alliance members of the Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team, which also includes City Care, Fletcher Construction, Fulton Hogan and McConnell Dowell.

The Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (SCIRT) is responsible for rebuilding Christchurch’s earthquake-damaged roads, sewerage, water supply pipes and parks.

Commuters from the eastern seaside suburbs of Sumner can see the Downer team currently working on the Heathcote River bridge. 

It also repaired one of the most filmed sites after the February 22, 2011 earthquakes – Fitzgerald Avenue where it crosses the Avon, on the edge of the central city.  

Hummocks appeared in the tarseal and deep cracks opened up leading on to and off the bridge. 

After more than a year of work by Downer there are now 800 stone columns stabilising the ground under the road and on to the bridge, the retaining wall on the town-side is rebuilt and the wastewater pipe shifted to the city-side of the road. A new walkway for pedestrians and cyclists has also been reopened.

Downer has been a part of the Christchurch community for decades and in that time has worked closely with entities such as Christchurch City and Ngai Tahu to build, maintain and operate critical infrastructure in the city. 

Chief executive Cos Bruyn says Downer is “fully immersed in the mood and culture of recovery, restoration and rebuild that is the new Christchurch.”

The company is committed to working with all its partners to drive productivity, value, and innovation in project delivery. On any given day, more than 750 Downer people are working on projects across the city.

“It is very important for the people of the Canterbury community and New Zealand’s economy that we take the opportunity to plan and rebuild Christchurch to become one of the world’s most liveable cities. This is a unique opportunity to demonstrate the strength and resilience of the New Zealand character and our abilities to step up and collaborate when it matters most,” he says.

The horizontal rebuild for Christchurch is due for completion in 2016 and Mr Bruyn says he is proud of the work Downer and the other SCIRT partners have done. 

“Amazing work has been done here by people who have worked hard and done the very best they can as teams in challenging conditions.” 

He says that while this phase of the rebuild is drawing to a close, Downer’s commitment to the new Christchurch is far from over. 

The company is very much looking forward to being involved in the anchor projects and other rebuild projects in both the social and economic infrastructure sectors that are commencing now and will be in progress for a number of years to come.

Downer is one of the largest providers of construction, maintenance and operations solutions for infrastructure in Australia and New Zealand. 

The work the company undertakes in New Zealand involves a mix of private and government customers mainly focusing on economic infrastructure including the New Zealand Transport Agency, Chorus, telecommunication companies, local councils, government-owned businesses and agencies. 

Downer NZ has revenue of $1.2 billion a year in New Zealand and 5000 people spread across 53 Downer offices from Kaitaia to Bluff .

Read: the rest of the Christchurch Three Years On feature stories here