Emmets Civil Construction Ltd


Year Completed


Project Value

NZ $2.4M


IStructE, Structural Awards, Pedestrian Bridge Award

NZ Bridges Awards, Excellence in Bridge Design – Innovation, Sustainability and Structural Award

NZ Bridges Awards, Small Medium Structure Award, Under $5M

SESOC Awards for Structural Engineering Excellence, Small Projects Award and Infrastructure Award

Te Awa walk and cycleway stretches along the Waikato River in central Aotearoa, running from Ngāruawāhia in the north to Karapiro in the south. The Perry Bridge was the final link in the chain, completing the path and opening up a fantastic activity for locals and visitors to the region. The original plans didn’t even include a bridge—but the client wasn’t able to secure permission to build the path on the west side of the river. The solution was a detour across to the east side of the river, by way of a new bridge, which was put out for competition.

Holmes and Emmetts Civil Construction submitted an alternative solution for the bridge involving a visually stunning, innovative network arch. The efficiency of this form of structure kept its costs within a practical budget, but the client also recognised the opportunity to create a visually compelling focal point to help attract people to the cycleway. Drawing on a concept conceived in the 1950s by the brilliant Norwegian engineer, Per Tveit, the project team delivered a visually stunning, innovative network arch bridge. The bridge is very long and thin, spanning 130m at just 3m in width—presenting a number of complex technical engineering challenges. It’s New Zealand’s fourth network arch bridge and the first of its kind in the country designed specifically for pedestrians and cyclists. It’s also the longest network arch bridge in the country.

Moving into the construction phase, it became evident that the proposed launch sequence, involving barges on the river, had a high level of risk and uncertainty. We devised an innovative and efficient alternative launch sequence, pulling the bridge across the river on cables. The launch went smoothly, and the outcome is exceptional. Our alternative tender design helped to capture the public’s imagination, and involved local schools, artists and other stakeholders to ensure relevance to the local community.

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