Road Engineering Assn NZ Chapter Newsletter Vol 42
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Welcome to the Road Engineering Assn NZ Chapter newsletter.

In this edition.........

2016 Roadshow
REAAA Recent Activities
Institutional member article - Self-explaining speeds - a reality on State Highway 1
Member article - Dr Bryan Pidwerbesky
Level Crossings Forum - 30 November 2016, Wellington
Transportation Engineering Postgraduate Courses
Dates of interest



13 - 15 September 2017
Trinity Wharf, Tauranga

Call for Abstracts

2016 Roadshow

The 2016 Roadshow theme was "Our Industrial Legacy - What are we leaving our children?" and the presentations were well received at the five venues.

The seminars commenced in Auckland on 17 August and finished in Dunedin on 23 August.

This year the $300 cash prize for the winners of the Young Presenter Competition was kindly sponsored by the local IPENZ branches at Waikato, Wellington, Canterbury and Otago.  

The winners were:
Kelsey Wong, Downer NZ ~ Auckland seminar
Stephanie Orbell, Opus International Consultants ~ Taupo seminar
Anton Kivell, Beca ~ Wellington seminar
Alasdiar Lothian, MWH NZ Ltd ~ Christchurch seminar
James McCallum, Southland District Council - Dunedin seminar

The presentation from the keynote speaker, Colin Brodie “New Zealand's Contribution to Global Road Safety Goals” received excellent feedback with one attendee noting the roadshow was “very good, as always every year”. 

It is commonly noted that the roadshow enables great networking opportunities and brings clients, contractors and consultants together under the one roof.  This makes a great forum for the exchange of information and innovative ideas.

The Presentations from the 2016 roadshow and past roadshows are loaded on the chapter's website
 Conference Papers page.

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REAAA Recent Activities

Road Science Bitumen Plant, Mt Maunganui & Holmes Solutions Car vs Pole

A site visit to the Road Science Laboratory and Bitumen Plant in Mt Maunganui was held on 14 September with a small group enjoying a tour around the facilities.  One attendee commented the visit was very informative and believes sessions like these will help the industry to share experiences and enhance industry knowledge of current and new products and methodologies.  

There was also a huge amount of interest to attend the recent Holmes Solutions demonstration of Car vs Pole held on 12 October at the Mike Pero Motorsports Park, Christchurch.  A video of the test and a summary of the findings can be found here

If you have any ideas for future forums/site visits that you think will be of interest to the industry please email with details.

Self-explaining speeds - a reality on State Highway 1

From 2013 to 2016, MWH, now part of Stantec developed options for Manakau and Ohau towns on State Highway 1 north of Wellington, located between Otaki and Levin. The two townships are located on SH1 about 6km apart and both have suffered from a very poor crash record in recent years, with a disproportionate number of fatal and serious crashes in the towns. Both towns straddle SH1 which had a 100km/h legal speed limit, with the highway causing considerable division in their communities.

Our primary objective was to provide physical measures which would promote a reduced speed environment and support speed reduction from 100km/h to 80km/h; a legal speed limit change in isolation was expected to be ineffective. The works included ‘vertical relief’ to break up the very open road; creation of a wide expansive environment, including regularly repeated thresholds, kerbing, landscaping, median islands and lighting; and lateral deflections, providing a flush median of varying width, as well as lane and shoulder narrowing through the townships. The projects are now complete and have been in operation for over a year. The results have been significant, with the pictures below showing identical locations before and after treatment.


Before After


The greatest challenge was the innovative and novel approach as treatment of this nature is highly unusual and perhaps even unprecedented in New Zealand, particularly for an environment like State Highway 1. The standard approach is to provide greater space and more separation between highway traffic and the local community. A more innovative approach was taken, with the intent to make the townships feel more like a ‘place’ and to have motorists treat it as a local community, thereby encouraging traffic to travel slower because of the village feel. The new approach was difficult for some members of the community to accept and required a lot of explaining by the project team. One way that this was overcome was by bringing a sub-consultant who specialised in human factors behavioural psychology into the project team. This provided the stakeholders with confidence that the measures being proposed would be effective in terms of how drivers would respond, and would not have a detrimental effect on road safety.
Another specific challenge was the proposal to constrict the road width, which is known to be an effective measure to reduce speeds. We needed to strike the right balance between providing enough space for large vehicles (given that this is State Highway 1), normal traffic and cyclists, but to also reduce the very open and straight rural open road environment. Ultimately, the proposed cross-section reduced the lane widths and the road shoulders down to acceptable minimums. By narrowing the road shoulders down to 1.5m (from around 2-2.5m), this meant that they could no longer be parked on. Most businesses along the highway had off-street parking, but one dairy business did not. Understandably, this business owner was concerned about losing passing trade; the design was therefore amended to provide areas for parking for this business. A pedestrian crossing island was also provided to aid customers in moving to and from the shop from the parking area, and also from the wider community.

Ultimately, this was a safety project and it is too early to compare crash statistics before and after. However, the speed reductions achieved in both townships have been significant: 
  Before  After
  Average speed
85th percentile speed (km/h) Average speed
85th percentile speed (km/h)
 Manakau 88 96 73 83
 Ohau 84 93 75 82
 6km length  between  townships 87 93 83 89

This data is from a TomTom in-vehicle GPS for 3 months (May-July 2014 compared with May-July 2016, 6am-12am Monday-Friday period) travelling the length of the projects, not point speeds captured with tube counters, which is expected to provide a good level of data reliability.

It is known that 
[1] an increase in average speed of 1km/h typically results in a 3% higher risk of a crash involving injury, with a 4–5% increase for crashes that result in fatalities. Therefore, with a 15km/h reduction in mean speeds, this equates to a 45% reduction in risk of any crash that occurs involving injury and a 60% reduction in risk that any crash results in fatality.

Also of interest are the speeds between the townships, where only minor wide centreline works were undertaken but have nonetheless also been subject to sustained speed reductions; the reason for this is not clear. It could be that drivers are generally reducing their speed between the townships to
something more in keeping with the operating speeds in both Manakau and Ohau i.e. there is little benefit in speeding up between them, given that they will have to reduce speeds again quite soon.

This project has delivered a safer, slower and more ‘place-like’ feel for the communities of Manakau and Ohau, as well as the travelling public. The environment created now has more of a ‘village-like’ feel which is appropriate for the local community, and drivers have responded accordingly with a considerable speed reduction which has been achieved for a prolonged period.

Article kindly supplied by Jamie Povall, Design Manager, MWH

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Member Profile - Dr Bryan Pidwerbesky

Bryan was a founding member of the New Zealand Chapter of the REAAA in 1996, and served on the Chapter committee until 2002. Ever since its founding, Bryan has been active member and supporter of the REAAA NZ Chapter and its goals, including presenting on a number of REAAA national roadshows. His most recent presentation topic was Canterbury Earthquakes and Pavement Resilience, on the 2012 Roadshow. He has also published papers in the REAAA magazine.

Bryan grew up on the Saskatchewan prairies, in western Canada. He decided to become a roading engineer when he was 10 years old, which was influenced by his father being a grader driver on highway construction projects and later a highway maintenance supervisor. At an early age, he learnt from his father that regardless of how good or elegant an engineering design might seem on paper or in theory, it has to be workable, constructible and easily maintained - fundamentals he’s never forgotten. After completing his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Civil Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, during which he gained experience operating a full scale accelerated test track and part-time lecturing in pavement engineering, he migrated to New Zealand in 1986.

Bryan developed an early interest in New Zealand for a number of reasons, including meeting a number of kiwis in Canada and Europe while travelling there, and the classic NZ 1980’s movie “Goodby Porkpie”, which was very popular in Canada in the 1980’s. He is still surprised when he meets kiwis who have never watched the movie – one of the greatest road trip movies ever made!

His first position in New Zealand was lecturing in civil engineering at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, specialising in pavement engineering. His responsibilities included managing the University’s Transportation Materials laboratory and the Canterbury Accelerated Pavement Testing Indoor Facility (CAPTIF), which was operated by the University under the direction of a joint management agreement with the National Roads Board, NRB (later Transit and the New Zealand Transport Agency).

While at the University of Canterbury, Bryan completed his PhD in Civil Engineering. His research topic involved developing a system for measuring strains within subgrades and unbound granular pavements, and comparing the actual strains with the theoretical strains assumed in the AUSTROADS and NZ design procedures at the time. One of his findings, that the AUSTROADS subgrade strain criteria was less conservative and the calculated strains were closer to the actual strains measured under heavy vehicle axle loads, contributed to the NZ agency’s decision to adopt the AUSTROADS pavement design.

After moving to Christchurch, Bryan started playing ice hockey again and also managed the Canterbury provincial junior ice hockey team for a year, which won the New Zealand championship that year. He also met his wife, Helen, at an ice hockey match in Christchurch (she was a spectator).

When the setting up of a NZ chapter of REAAA was first proposed, Bryan was keen to see it happen so he enthusiastically volunteered to be a founding member of the chapter in 1996. He promoted the benefits of the REAAA chapter to potential members, especially in Canterbury, and helped organise the international REAAA conference held in Wellington in 1998. He was honoured to be a co-winner of the REAAA Katahira Award for best paper presented at the conference.

At the University, Bryan’s research interests included asphalt mix design, chip seal design and field performance, forestry roads, unbound granular pavements, skid resistance and vehicle dynamic loading of pavements. When Transit NZ first established minimum requirements for skid resistance and polished stone values for aggregates used on state highway surfaces, he set up the first commercial Polished Stone Value testing service in New Zealand in the University’s Transportation laboratory. He was also responsible for securing government and private funding for the CAPTIF facility; highlights included securing the test track component of an international project investigating the effect of different suspension types on vehicle dynamic loading and pavement performance, funded by OECD members, and another project to assess the performance of different binders and polymers on asphalt performance for a multi-national oil company.

Bryan preferred to do practical applied research that was directly relevant to New Zealand industry, and thus met many practicing engineers and contractors around the country. As a result of this exposure, he was offered the position of Chief Executive of the NZ Bitumen Contractors Association (BCA, which eventually morphed into Roading NZ) in 1998. He had enjoyed the lecturing, research, managing CAPTIF and other work he’d done at the University, but was grateful for this new challenge in his career.

Bryan and his wife, Helen, moved to Wellington in 1998; they enjoyed living and socialising in downtown Wellington. Though the BCA was originally focussed on health, safety and technical issues of bitumen and asphalt products, the association broadened its scope to encompass all aspects of roading and pavements. Bryan continued his close association with the REAAA in Wellington, and with the BCA’s wider scope, brought the two organisations closer together. In 1998, Bryan was invited to represent NZ industry on the AUSTROADS Pavement Research Group, which is now the AUSTROADS Pavements Task Force. While at the BCA, Bryan was responsible for implementing the association’s strategy and action plans, which included leading the development of a wide range of training and best practice documents, and liaising with the highway agency, local authorities and other government agencies. Walking past Parliament every day to and from work was always an interesting part of his work day.

After two and half years at the BCA, Bryan was offered the position of Group Technical Manager at Fulton Hogan in 2000, responsible for providing pavements technical advice and design to the company. Still based in Wellington and working out of the company’s regional offices in Petone, he travelled widely throughout New Zealand and Australia supporting the company’s operations.

Following the birth of their son, Bryan and Helen moved back to Christchurch when Fulton Hogan moved its corporate functions from Dunedin to the Garden City, as most of Helen’s family were located in Canterbury.

Since leaving the University, Bryan continues to do guest lectures and supervise post-graduates every year; he finds these the most enjoyable aspects of being a lecturer. He has supervised students doing their Masters and PhDs in Civil Engineering, Masters in Engineering Geology and Masters in Engineering Management, and has been the external examiner for PhD candidates at the University of Auckland and overseas. In 2010, he was honoured to be appointed an Adjunct Senior Fellow in Civil Engineering at the University of Canterbury.

Bryan greatly enjoys working at Fulton Hogan, where he’s been involved in a wide range of interesting activities, including designing pavements, managing the company’s research programme, asset management, environmental sustainability, innovation and training, to name only a few. He has designed pavements for a large number of major projects, rehabilitations, airports, ports and heavy duty industrial sites throughout New Zealand and Australia during the past 16 years. His favourite pavement designs are the Glenhope to Kawatiri (south of Nelson) re-alignment project opened in 2003 (his alternative design saved over 30,000 m3 of wasted scalpings), the 100% recycled road in Christchurch in 2005 (consists of recycled asphalt pavement {RAP} in the surfacing and recycled crushed concrete {RCC} in the base and subbase – no virgin aggregates were used), and Christchurch Southern Motorway Stage 1 (which for the first time on a New Zealand state highway included structural asphalt mixes containing 30% RAP and RCC in the pavement) in 2012. Bryan has always insisted that he and others on his pavement design team work closely with the construction crews, in terms of material design and optimisation, construction methodology and quality assurance testing, to ensure successful design, delivery and long term performance; pavement design and performance modelling alone do not ensure that a pavement will provide the expected performance over its design life.

With Fulton Hogan’s support, Bryan has also served on a number of NZ, Australasian and international industry groups, including the NZ National Pavements Technical Group and representing NZ industry on the AUSTROADS Pavements Task Force.

Bryan is proud of his Canadian heritage, but is also a very proud kiwi and is grateful for the opportunities he’s had in New Zealand, including being a pavement designer working for a contractor that builds and maintains roads. He is interests and work experience covers a wide range of aspects of roading and transportation, including road user charges and road funding mechanisms, asset management, intelligent transport systems (ITS), vehicle usage, mass limits, skid resistance and friction demand, pavement materials, construction and performance.

Bryan continues to be an active member of the REAAA NZ Chapter, always looking forward to and attending the annual Roadshow. He encourages young engineers to present at the Roadshow and coaches them on their presentation skills, and has himself presented on the national Roadshow a couple of times during the past 20 years. He sees the REAAA as an excellent forum for bringing together all parties interesting in road engineering, sharing ideas and transferring knowledge from the experienced members to engineers new to the industry.

Article kindly supplied by Dr Bryan Pidwerbesky
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Level Crossings Forum - 30 November 2016

Challenges and Opportunities

Wednesday, 30 November 2016
1:00 PM - 6:00 PM
$50.00 (excluding GST)
Cliftons, Majestic Centre Wellington


This half day forum is being convened by the Railway Technical Society of Australasia, the Institution of Railway Signal Engineers and the IPENZ Transportation Group.

The forum will include presentations from speakers from KiwiRail, Tracksafe, Auckland Transport, NZ Transport Agency and other agencies.

In addition, Anjum Naweed (Australasian Centre for Rail Innovation / CQU) will be presenting the findings from his recent research into managing and influencing road users and pedestrians through our level crossing systems.

Following the presentations, a panel discussion will address level crossing risks – responsibilities and future issues.

As well as being of interest to those within the rail industry, the forum will be an opportunity for those involved in the management of road networks and promoting road safety to learn more about initiatives to improve the performance and safety of level crossings.

At the end of the forum at 6pm there will be a networking opportunity with drinks and nibbles provided.

Register Now

Transportation Engineering Postgraduate Courses 2017

The Department of Civil and Natural Resources Engineering at the University of Canterbury is offering the following qualifications in 2017.

  • Certificate of Proficiency 
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Engineering 
  • Master of Engineering Studies
  • Master of Engineering in Transportation
Further details click here or contact Associate Professor Mofreh Saleh
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Dates of Interest 2016

If you know of any upcoming conferences that can be included in the dates of interest and also added the Road Engineering Assn website please email with details. 
21 - 24 May 5th International SaferRoads Conference Auckland
21 – 24 May 5th Safer Roads Conference Auckland
26 – 29 June 15th ITS Asia/Pacific Hong Kong
 August 2017 REAAA Roadshow  NZ nationwide
13 – 15 September Low Volume Roads Workshop Tauranga
Road Engineering Assn NZ Chapter
Road Engineering Assn NZ Chapter
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