Customer: Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency

Contract: Construct

Location: Auckland, New Zealand





Transport Solutions New Zealand & Pacific Islands

Fast Facts

  • The new bridge is over 260 m long and eight meters wide
  • Main span is on a horizontal curve with a 136 m radius
  • The bridge’s most stunning feature is a 60 m steel tied-arch
  • Two southern approach spans are 12 m wide creating dedicated fishing bays
  • The northern and southern abutments consist of 1.2 m wide reinforced concrete blade walls
  • The Ngā Hau Māngere bridge provides up to eight meters clearance for vessels during low tide, to increase access to the upper harbour
  • The new bridge is a shared public space with a gentle slope to provide easy access for many users

McConnell Dowell was awarded the contract for the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency project to deconstruct the 105-year-old Māngere Bridge and construct a new and improved replacement in late 2019. The new connection linking the communities of Onehunga and Māngere Bridge was completed on time in August 2022.

Local mana whenua gifted the bridge its new name Ngā Hau Māngere, which means ‘gentle lazy winds’ before it was officially opened to the public on 27 August 2022.


The Challenge

The Ngā Hau Māngere Project was a high-profile job for the client and the local community were very engaged in the process. A complex sequence of deconstruction and construction was carried out under high tension powerlines and in a sensitive marine environment which both added to the difficulty of the undertaking. The challenges of the project were focused on two main areas, working at heights and over water. The high visibility and interest of the public in the project and especially the environmental and health and safety outcomes also made these the two key areas of focus.

One of the technical challenges was the deconstruction of the Old Māngere Bridge, which was closed for public safety reasons in 2018. The demolition work was completed using a ‘cut and crane’ method to remove the spans and supporting piers from a temporary work platform built on the western side of the old bridge. This method is almost the reverse of how it was constructed over 100 years ago.

Construction of the new 260m long bridge was carried out from a similar temporary work platform on the eastern side of the old bridge at the same time deconstruction was underway to reduce the length of the project. The temporary platforms provided access for the deconstruction work, the construction of the piles, cofferdams and other structures required for the new bridge.

A 330-tonne pre-cast concrete deck section and the show-stopping 60 m structural steel central arch were installed in six complex lift operations using two 250-tonne cranes, to complete the structure.  


The Solution

Careful stewardship of the Manukau Harbour was critical to the success of the project and McConnell Dowell and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency were committed to delivering better than expected environmental outcomes.

The team also worked closely with local mana whenua representatives, who along with receiving regular updates on progress were also invited to visit the site to conduct cultural monitoring, advise the team on appropriate safety and environmental protection measures and celebrate key milestones. 

Three examples of the controls in place to protect local flora and fauna and the Manukau Harbour itself included:

  • a large ‘net’ under the deconstruction work to prevent debris from falling into the water below,
  • the use of floating pontoons during deconstruction to catch concrete slurry during the cutting process,
  • and underwater noise monitoring to manage the impact of driving steel piles into the seabed on marine mammals such as seals, penguins and dolphins which call the harbour home.

Wherever possible we reused and recycled materials to minimise our environmental footprint. Parts of the old bridge were salvaged whole and reused as landscaping features, a link to the past for future generations to enjoy. The rest of the concrete from the old bridge was crushed for reuse as fill on other projects.

We also reused steel from a bridge project in the South Island in the temporary work platforms. The production of steel is a carbon-rich process so recycling and reusing as much as possible was an effective way to minimise the project’s carbon footprint.


The Key to Success:

Waka Kotahi maintained a strong community focus from the early engagement and consultation through to the construction phase and McConnell Dowell supported this engagement through construction.

Maintaining connectivity and accessibility around the old bridge while work was underway was important as the construction sites were next to popular community assets on both sides of the harbour. Space was tight so we minimised risk by creating separate areas for construction traffic and the public. The walking and cycling path on the northern side was diverted to ensure safe travel around the construction site, and access to the causeway boat ramp and Waterfront Reserve on the southern side was maintained.

We developed the traffic management plan and the walking and cycling diversion route in consultation with local board members, the cycle advocacy group Bike Auckland and the harbourmaster to ensure that safe access was maintained.

To keep the community updated about progress at major milestones we produced regular newsletters and videos so people could see some of the amazing engineering taking place.


Project Awards:

Austroads Bridge Awards 2022, the project was shortlisted and a finalist for Best Structure Over 35 Metres.

Concrete Awards 2023, the project was awarded “Highly Commended”. 

HERA Awards 2023, the project won the ‘Innov8 rerehua 'Steel is beautiful' categoryThe award recognised elegant design, the creative temporary works, and well-crafted steel elements in the complex execution.

SESOC Structural Engineering Excellence Awards 2023, the project won the Structural Sustainability Award. It recognises the delivery of a complex piece of infrastructure which also engaged sustainable design principles across material use, social engagement and environmental impacts. 

CCNZ Hirepool Construction Excellence Awards 2023, the project was shortlisted and a finalist for Category 4 - Projects between $20m and $100m.

New Zealand Architecture Awards 2023, the project won the Planning & Urban Design category. The award recognises excellent achievement and encourages architects to produce high-quality work that benefits their clients and their communities. The awards programme showcases projects that indicate a way forward for architecture in New Zealand - work that demonstrates that architects are aware of pressing issues and are producing meaningful responses.

CCNZ Hynds Construction Awards 2023, the project won two awards; the project category D (projects between Warkworth and Pokeno valued $20 million - $50 million), and the Hynds Construction Supreme Award. This award recognises the project for enhancing success including, but not limited to setting up the project, the relationships, client satisfaction, risks and the construction – both in thinking and implementing the idea.

International Architecture Awards 2023, the project won the Bridges and Infrastructure Award. This award promotes international architecture and design to our world-wide public audience and supported by the new online magazine Global Design News. An international jury was composed of several distinguished designers worked remotely and selected almost 150 submissions from a shortlist of over 850 projects. 

PMINZ Award 2024, the project won two awards over 29 finalists competing across 8 categories, showcasing the best talent in the project profession: 2024 NZ Project Management Construction Project of the Year Award and the Public Sector Project of the Year Award.

Tuia Pito Ora New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architecture awards 2024, the project won the Transport Award. The Awards programme is about celebrating the creativity, technical capability and diversity of skills that Landscape Architects provide as integrators of landscape, people and place in Aotearoa.



Check out the project wrap-up video

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