Work which started this week to install two huge steel structures marks an exciting milestone for Hamilton's new bridge over the Waikato River to Peacocke.
Work began on Wednesday to install the two steel structures that will form the central support for the bridge.
The steel structures each weigh more than 200 tonnes and were lifted into place by one of the largest crawler cranes in the country.
The Hamilton City Council's executive director strategic infrastructure, Andrew Parsons, said it was a massive milestone for the project and for the city.
"It's the first new bridge for the city since the Pukete Bridge was completed in 1996 and will be the only traffic bridge in Hamilton to have no central support structures in the Waikato River – an important feature for our iwi partners," he said.
The unique design of the bridge has the future of the city front of mind and incorporates cultural symbolism, environmental outcomes and some more practical elements.
"The rust-coloured supports aren't just visually stunning, they are a tangible outcome of council's long-term partnerships with iwi and tangata whenua since the start of the project," Parsons said.
The steel structures were designed as woven lattices to represent te ao Māori (Māori worldview) and the interconnectivity of people, places and our history. In their "V" shape, the supports are anchored by the central bridge pier that is on the southern bank – not in the river.
"From a practical point of view, the steel structures are more cost-effective, will need minimal maintenance and not a lick of paint in the coming years.
"In the coming months, the next bridge milestone is happening with the first beam lifted into the place that will connect the two sides of the river."
The new bridge will have four vehicle lanes – two dedicated to public transport – and shared pedestrian and cycle paths on each side, future-proofing the bridge for the nearly 20,000 Hamiltonians who will call the new community in Peacocke home.
Construction is expected to be completed in mid-2023 and is the key piece of the puzzle to allow housing development to start in Peacocke.
Peacocke is being built with support from the Government's Housing Infrastructure Fund, made up of a $180.3 million 10-year interest-free loan and $110.1 million of Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency subsidies.
The Peacocke programme will deliver a new bridge, 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 which are also important parts of creating a new community in Peacocke.
New Waikato River bridge
• Four-lane bridge including dedicated bus lanes.
• Separate pedestrian and cycling paths.
• 95m to 110m span over the Waikato River.
• No piers in the river.
• 215m overall length.
• Anchored by a pedestrian bridge on the northern side of the river.
• A single Y-shaped pillar on the south bank, supporting a flat bridge deck more than 200m long.
• Lighting and structural features have been chosen to minimise the impact on the native long-tailed bats and the surrounding environment both during construction, and when it is operational.