Last week, WSP, Palmerston North City Council, Concrete Structures / Holmes won the Pedestrian & Cycle Bridges Award for the 194-metre-long He Ara Kotahi Bridge.
WSP, Downer and Waka Kotahi won the Large Structure Award - Above $5 million, for the Ōpaoa River Bridge replacement in Blenheim.
Opened in 2019, the distinctive He Ara Kotahi crossing spans the Manawatū River. It’s made from composite weathering steel to provide long term durability with minimal maintenance costs.
WSP looked to the area's unique local heritage to design the bridge. The story of the Rangitāne iwi was woven into the design as a karaka log that had fallen across the river with its roots on one side and the canopy on the other.
He Ara Kotahi bridge features an innovative user counter, the first of its kind in Aotearoa. Infra-red sensors provide accurate real-time numbers of people using the bridge.
WSP Wellington-based senior bridge engineer Darryn Doriguzzi says the award competition was tough this year, with many excellent bridges up for top honours.
“It’s a feather in the cap for the local community and for everyone involved in the He Ara Kotahi bridge project to be recognised as best in category.”
Blenheim’s new Ōpaoa River Bridge opened to traffic in both directions in July 2020. The 188-metre-long span replaces the historic Ōpaoa River Bridge, which was too narrow for some vehicles, vulnerable to earthquakes and prone to flooding damage.
WSP's scope of services included business case development, detail design, tender management, construction monitoring and heritage monitoring on the historic bridge.
Located in a flood plain, the new Ōpaoa River Bridge has been designed to meet demanding hydraulic requirements. With SH1 through Blenheim being a critical transport route, it has also been designed with seismic and natural disaster resilience top of mind.
Integrating the new bridge into the site, while complimenting the heritage bridge was another critical consideration.
"From the start, we wanted the new structure to be sympathetic to the heritage bridge. The delicate shape and patterns on the new bridge reflect that approach, and the restored heritage bridge was designed to serve the community well, long into the future," says WSP Blenheim-based principal project director Brent Morgan.
It’s the not first time the Ōpaoa bridge project has been honoured with an award. Last year, it won Engineering New Zealand’s inaugural heritage award.
The full line-up of category winners from the 2022 NZ Bridge Summit and Gala Dinner can be found here.