Another Peacocke milestone as footbridge over Hamilton's Wairere Drive lifted into place

Another Peacocke milestone as footbridge over Hamilton's Wairere Drive lifted into place

Footbridge Wairere
The main part of the new footbridge was lifted into place on Wednesday.

27 October 2022

Work began on Wednesday on a new 71-metre-long cycling and pedestrian bridge over the Wairere Drive extension where it meets Hamilton's Waikato River bridge to the new southern suburb of Peacocke.

Bridge traffic in and out of Peacocke will pass under the new cycling and pedestrian bridge on the northern side of the river. The footbridge will provide a connection to the nearby network of shared pathways and the Te Awa River Ride.

It is part of Hamilton City Council's commitment to making it safer and easier for Hamiltonians to walk, bike and scooter around the city.

The council's executive director of strategic infrastructure, Andrew Parsons, said the footbridge not only serves a functional purpose, but is visually stunning and was another exciting milestone for the Peacocke river bridge project. The footbridge was lifted into place by New Zealand's second-largest crawler crane.

The crane was on-site earlier this month, lifting the final steel-girder segment of the road bridge into place and shaping the bridge's final form. A proper deck, handrails and lighting are still being added. Inside the bridge's girders are pipes for water and wastewater, and cables for electricity and internet.

"The main [footbridge] bridge deck has been installed, before smaller deck sections and, finally, two steel masts are lifted into place," said Parsons.

"This will provide safe ways to move in and out of the new community to connect with Hamilton East and [the] central city - primary considerations since the start of this project."

The footbridge is made up of five steel sections with more than 200,000 kilograms of weathering steel. A local engineering company, PFS Engineering, fabricated the footbridge and masts at their workshop in Riverlea.

Alongside PFS Engineering, the council also collaborated with Hamilton-based architects Edwards White and structural engineers Bloxam Burnett & Olliver to design and deliver the footbridge.

"We're really proud to be supporting and working with local companies, especially during the past two years of economic challenges," said Parsons.

The council's partnership with the Southern Links Tangata Whenua Working Group meant the footbridge was identified early on as part of the network of cultural expression and symbolism across the Southern Links transport projects.

Parsons said cultural symbolism and Māori designs have been incorporated into the steel masts - known as taurapa - which act as a cap on top of the concrete foundations.

The finishing touches to the footbridge won't be completed until mid-to-late next year, and will include shared paths connecting each side, plantings, seating and signs.

"While the structure is in place now, it will remain closed to keep our community and crews safe while the Wairere Drive extension and Waikato River bridge are completed underneath," said Parsons.

The footbridge will be opened in mid-to-late 2023 as part of the new Waikato River bridge project and included in the Hamilton section of the Te Awa River Ride.

The whole bridge project represents the city's biggest investment in the environment and ecological outcomes, Parson says.

"If you look at the bridge - with no central pier in the river - there are large areas underneath where bats can fly. These design elements contribute to the environmental outcomes from our investment."

To get the best view of activity at the bridge site, people are encouraged to access the shared path between Hamilton Gardens and Howell Ave off Cobham Drive.

The $160.2 million contract for the bridge was signed two years ago, with work starting in October 2020. It's the largest capital contract Hamilton City Council has awarded, and also includes the building of new roads in Peacocke.

Peacocke, one of Hamilton's new suburbs, is south of Glenview, Fitzroy and Riverlea, and is being built with support from the Government's Housing Infrastructure Fund.

The fund's contribution is comprised of a $180.3m 10-year interest-free loan and $110.1m of Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency subsidies.

The Peacocke programme also includes a transport network that caters for public transport, pedestrians and cyclists, parks, and strategic water, wastewater and stormwater networks.

Other work includes protecting and enhancing the environment, including the extensive gully system, opening the area to the Waikato River, and investigating community facilities.

Once completed, Peacocke will be home to up to 20,000 Hamiltonians.

Time-lapse footage of the bridge being built can be viewed on the council's website.

For more information, please go to the NZ Herald article here.

Footbridge Wairere 2
A concept drawing showing the footbridge over Wairere Drive at the northern end of the Peacocke river bridge.

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