Newmarket’s new Cowie Street over-rail bridge was opened recently with a dawn ceremony. It marks an important health and safety milestone for Auckland Transport by eliminating yet another level train and car crossing. This project improves public safety, has removed noisy crossing bells for residents and has increased the efficiency of the rail services.
The rail-bridge now links Laxon Terrace with Cowie Street replacing the Sarawia Street and Laxon crossing. The bridge accommodates vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists and has been designed based on public feedback from a consultation period in 2014. It features two-lane road access, a narrowed road width for lowered speed, raingardens to allow environmentally-friendly runoff of stormwater and a walking connection from the bridge to nearby Newmarket Park. The project cost $6.2m.
The Newmarket to Britomart stretch is one of the busiest sections of rail in Auckland, and this was the busiest level crossing in all of New Zealand. The new bridge is critical to Auckland Transports’ revised train timetable that is planned for later in 2018 which will see an increased number of train journeys to and from the city center. In May 2018 Aucklanders took over six million train journeys a month, the second highest number on record.
Vincent Revell, an Associate in the Auckland office, joined the project as the Engineer’s Representative, just before construction began in December 2017. In this role, Vincent was responsible for administering the contract between Auckland Transport and CLL – the contractor. This was no small undertaking given the complexity of the project which lay sandwiched between a busy rail corridor and the steep slopes of Newmarket Park (formerly a rubbish dump). Unforeseen geological conditions and the discovery of a range of underground services added to the projects complexity. Vincent facilitated communications between AT, CLL and the design engineers Opus. He had to ensure that AT’s interests were looked-after, that Opus were providing the necessary design input and that CLL had everything they needed to get on and build.
“The project involved a number of stakeholders including members of the local community, many of which had a large influence in how they wanted the bridge to look and function. There were some really tough moments on this job but when you look at the finished product it makes it all worthwhile. The result is a much more than a bridge, it’s a beautiful public space that includes nature and functions as a significant connector to the local area. I feel privileged to have been part of making Auckland even better!”