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Christchurch earthquake recovery takes shape with huge concrete pour

The rebuilding of earthquake-hit Christchurch in New Zealand is gathering pace with the construction of a new bus interchange.

The project featured what is believed to be its largest ever single concrete pour on the country’s South Island.

Over 12 hours, 234 ready-mix trucks discharged a total of 1,428.6 cu m of concrete for the base of the interchange, one of the ‘anchor projects’ given priority by the Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA).

National and local firm Allied Concrete delivered the majority of the mix in seven and a half hours.

Allied director Dave Barker said: “The average return trip time was 76 minutes per truck; considerable resources were applied to task. The first load was batched at 02:06 in the morning, and 1,410 cubic metres of the total was delivered by 09:30.

“This is a great example of the scale on which companies have responded to assist in the rebuild of Christchurch, allowing projects to have much tighter build programmes than pre-event in the city, while saving constructors time and money.”

The interchange is being constructed under a joint venture between Australian company Thiess and Christchurch’s Southbase Construction.

Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) director Warwick Isaacs said: “We are very excited that this pour will result in the Bus Interchange beginning to take shape,” he says. “The task creates the foundation slab for building the Lichfield Street frontage. It consists of a 90cm deep slab on the 90m by 16m site. Structural steel erection is the next stage; this will commence within six weeks.”

The bus interchange is expected to be operational by the winter of 2015.

Christchurch was devastated by two earthquakes, in 2010 and 2011, the latter claiming 185 lives. More than 1,100 buildings in the central business district have been demolished or face demolition. Up to 500 other commercial buildings, and over 10,000 domestic dwellings have been demolished or face a similar fate.

It will cost over £20bn to rebuild Christchurch and the surrounding area.

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