A short distance north of New Zealand’s capital city of Wellington sits the Lower Hutt urban centre. With a population of around 110,000 people, the city has outgrown its roots as a manufacturing hub and commuter suburb, into a thriving business and residential centre defined by the winding rivers that flow down the Hutt Valley (Heretaunga). But as the city grows, so does the need for new and approved infrastructure.
RiverLink is a partnership between Greater Wellington, Waka Kotahi, Hutt City Council and iwi Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika and Ngāti Toa Rangatira to deliver crucial flood protection and river restoration work, improvements to public transport, walking and cycling routes, local roads and the State Highway 2 Melling Interchange, as well as urban revitalisation of the Lower Hutt city centre.
Looking underground to map the future
Te Wai Takamori o Te Awa Kairangi engaged Reveal in December 2022 to complete a comprehensive utility model that could be used to plan further investigations and inform partners on the status of the underground utilities within the planned project footprint in Lower Hutt.
The work was completed in two stages, with the first stage involving a comprehensive 2D desktop study. Reveal’s team compiled information from various sources, including BeforeUDig and utility providers to ensure the data was up to date. This initial step ensured that the foundation of the model was built on accurate and reliable information.
Following the desktop study, Reveal performed a Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) survey. The GPR data was processed and used to update the model from 2D to 3D, providing an even more comprehensive understanding of the subsurface infrastructure by adding crucial depth measurements to the model.
Samantha Smith, Project Manager – Utilities for Te Wai Takamori o Te Awa Kairangi, said “One of the standout features of Reveal’s model is its versatility. The model can be exported in various formats, making it compatible with our design software. “This compatibility enabled seamless integration of the model into our planning and design processes, making it an invaluable tool. The visual presentation of the model is impressive, and the user interface is intuitive and easy to navigate.”
The Reveal team took only three months from project inception to deliver a fully-fledged unified utility model in a web-based platform for Riverlink’s designers and engineers to work with.
“One of the most significant benefits of using the Reveal model is its potential to reduce the need for invasive investigations. By highlighting unknowns and higher-risk areas, the model allows for targeted investigations and utility relocations planning. This approach minimises disruptions and costs associated with more invasive methods,” Ms Smith said.
“In conclusion, Reveal has proven to be innovative and forward-thinking in their field of subsurface utility investigations. Their diligent and thorough approach, coupled with the creation of a visually appealing and user-friendly model, has enabled us to plan further investigations, and inform our relocation design with confidence.
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