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International award for bridge

Whangarei’s Lower Hatea Crossing, one of very few new bridges anywhere in the world of this design, has won a prestigious international award – the Civic Trust Award – at the 55th Annual Civic Trust Awards Ceremony held in Blackpool, UK.
Updated: 25/03/2014 12:19 p.m.

​This award, part of one of the oldest built environment awards schemes in Europe, specifically recognises projects that have made a positive contribution to the local communities they serve.

The Lower Hatea Crossing links Whangarei’s Port Road and William Fraser Memorial Park, creating a faster connection to Whangarei Airport. The bridge currently carries 8,000 vehicles daily.

The bridge was commissioned by Whangarei District Council to improve the over-all performance of the city’s roading network and with the intention that it would become an iconic bridge, known throughout the country and showcasing the culture and identity of Whangarei.

“At the time the project was described as a ‘one-off opportunity to create a lasting landmark out of a piece of the transportation network,” said WDC CEO Mark Simpson.
“We had the chance to create something very special which will have spin-offs in community pride and tourism far beyond its value as a bridge.
“The dedication and skill of the teams working on the bridge have been reflected in the quality and beauty of the finished product. They should be very proud of what they have created.”
“This award is yet more evidence of the excellence we have in Whangarei and New Zealand, to deliver a world class product.”
McConnell Dowell joined forces with Knight Architects (specialist bridge architects based in the UK) and Transfield Services to build the landmark award winning bridge.
McConnell Dowell Managing Director Roger McRae said “This is a highly prized, prestigious award. We are delighted that the bridge has been acknowledged in this way. All projects nominated for this award are assessed for architectural excellence, sustainability credentials, accessibility for all users and positive civic contribution. The people of Whangarei and Whangarei District Council can be proud of this internationally acclaimed, landmark bridge.”
The award for the Lower Hatea Crossing was one of only seven international awards.
The 265m long, 17m wide tidal river estuary crossing, has a 25m-wide lifting section to allow vessels taller than 7.5m to transit the bridge. There is a 2.5m wide path for pedestrians on one side, and a 3m path for cyclists on the other.
The bridge, which opened in 2013, is part of the highway network aimed at reducing congestion in the city centre and improving access to the airport and Whangarei Heads.
The earthquake-resistant bridge design pays homage to Maori cultural traditions. It is named Te Matau ā Pohe, which means “the fish hook of Pohe,” the Maori chief who welcomed the first English settlers to Whangarei. “The structural form of the rolling bascule was developed into a contemporary interpretation of the fish hook form - Hei Matau - that is central to Maori culture and is seen in ceremonial, sculptural, and artistic as well as functional form,” says architect Martin Knight.
Knight Architects, based in High Wycombe, United Kingdom, designed the bridge in conjunction with Peters & Cheung and Eadon Consulting, the latter based in Rotherham, United Kingdom, and serving as the mechanical engineer on the project.


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