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Knight’s New Zealand 'fish hook' bridge opens - literally

Knight Architects’ £14 million Lower Hatea River Crossing in Whangarei, New Zealand, with its distinctive 25-metre lifting centre section, has been officially opened

The rolling bascule bridge, apparently inspired by Maori fish hooks, gave its first performance last Friday (26 July).

The 265-metre-long link over a tidal river estuary is part of a package of improvements aimed at tackling congestion in the main city of the country’s Northland region.

Martin Knight of the High Wycombe-based practice said the design for the bridge ‘combined the functional and efficient form of a rolling bascule with a distinctive architectural shape.’

He added: ‘Function and form, engineering and architecture, are perfectly integrated and completely indivisible in this design. The concept was informed by the appearance of Maori ceremonial fishing hooks and I am delighted the bridge has been named TeMataua Pohe [The fishhook of Pohe].

‘As bridge architects we always seek to reinforce a sense of place and I am proud that we have achieved something of lasting quality in Whangarei.’

Meanwhile Knight Architects’ proposed £600 million Mersey Gateway bridge over the River Mersey between Runcorn and Widnes is set to start on site in January 2014. A preferred contractor was chosen to build the project last month (see NCE 25.06.2013).

TeMataua Pohe bridge - factfile:

  • 265m long and 17m wide
  • Expected to carry up to 8,000 vehicles per day
  • Directly links Town Basin and William Fraser Memorial Park, creating a faster connection to Whangarei airport
  • Only rolling bascule bridge in New Zealand
  • Officially named TeMataua Pohe-translated as ‘The fishhook of Pohe’, after the Maori chief who welcomed the first English settlers to Whangarei

Previous story (AJ 23.11.2011)

Construction starts on Knight’s New Zealand road bridge

Work has started on Knight Architects’ £14 million Lower Hatea River Crossing in Whangarei, New Zealand

The 265-metre-long viaduct has a 25-metre opening section and is part of a package of improvements aimed at challenging congestion in the main city of the country’s Northland region.

Martin Knight of Knight Architects explained: ‘The design concept is modelled on the traditional Maori fish hook and the distinctive curved steel structure rolls backwards to raise the bridge deck, allowing yachts passage to and from the inner harbour.’

The first phase involves earth works which will ‘pre-load’ the site of the bridge on both sides of the harbour. Construction of the bridge structure will continue through to mid 2013. 

Claimed to be New Zealand’s first bascule bridge built in fifty years, the project is structurally engineered by Peters & Cheung and will feature a lighting scheme by Speirs + Major.

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