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BRIDGE BUILDING COMPANY


Our bridge construction and repair teams have works all over New Zealand completing the builds for over 70 pedestrian bridges to date. No matter how remote the location, or how challenging the design, we have the expertise, passion, and equipment to deliver a world class bridge construction project.

We build suspension bridges and swing bridges in remote and difficult locations using helicopters, rope access, and boat access with our bridge building crews often living on site. Our proven track record has been underpinned through a combination of specialist access services, rigging, geotechnical, and engineering expertise which have been a perfect combination for success.


  • Design & Engineering
  • Specialist Access & Rope Access
  • Explosives and Blasting Specialists
  • Geotechnical Drilling & Anchoring
  • Project & Procurement Management
  • Bridge Concrete & Grouting
  • Rigging & Lifting
  • Staining & Timber Treatment
  • Load Testing

PROCUREMENT & SET UP


Detailed pre-planning and site set-up is a critical phase of any bridge construction project. The Abseil Access Engineering Team work closely with our Bridge Construction Division and our clients to ensure all site limitations and expectations are considered, ensuring an efficient project delivery.

Our experienced projects teams have successfully completed 70 bridge builds (NZ and internationally), are will deliver the project on time, on budget, and to the client's specification.


  • H4 Treated Timber Procurement & Mobilisation
  • Concrete Procurement and Preparation
  • Stainless Steel and Corrosion Resistant Materials
  • Timber Staining as Per Design Specification
  • Site Survey and Set Out
  • Excavations, Piling, and Foundation Preparation
  • Helicopter & Plant Equipment Selection
  • Drilling & Blast Planning

DRILLING, ANCHORING, GROUTING, & BLASTING


Abseil Access’s has over 20 years specialising in the full range of rope access, geotechnical assessments, drilling, and blasting services. These specialisations seamlessly complement our bridge construction department and projects.

Our fleet of drill rigs and top-hammer systems that can be implemented by land, air and sea, meaning no matter how challenging the bridge build location, we can confidently anchor into any ground type, excavate ground, and install concrete anchors where necessary.

Abseil Access are also certified for use of high explosives under EPA Class 1.1 and Nonex (low explosives) under EPA class 1.4. Our shot firers are certified and meet the new Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017. This capability is a further value add where gorges require careful profile blasting as part of the bridge construction project. Areas of specialist expertise include:


  • Rope Access and Helicopter Access
  • Geotechnical Surveys
  • Drilling and Rock Anchoring
  • Drill and Blast with our Certified Explosive Handlers
  • Drill and Grouting of Main Anchors up to 20m
  • Testing of Drilled Anchors up to 600kN
  • Public Safety and HSE Management
  • Environmental Safety Management

BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION


With over 70 swing and suspension bridges built by Abseil Access to date, our specialist and multi-skilled rope access bridge construction teams have become world leaders in this field. Our site leadership liaise closely with the Bridge Engineering Design Team and clients to ensure safe and efficient delivery of each project.

Our rope access bridge teams are have a depth of experience and skill that’s unparalleled from site set-up through to project completion, being fully compliant with New Zealand codes and standards.


  • Project & Program Management
  • Helicopter Access
  • Industrial Rope Access
  • Rescue and Access Boats
  • Concrete Foundation Works
  • Tower Construction and Erection
  • Main Cable Installation
  • Rigging and Timber Installation
  • Custom Staining & Treatment
  • Load Testing to Design Specification

Testimony from our clients include:

“It was a pleasure working with the Abseil Access bridge team. They looked after every aspect of the design, engineering, consenting and build and our bridge was completed and signed off within budget and on time. I would recommend them to anyone”

John O’Neill - Network Manager - Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency

“Abseil Access has been a chosen contractor for bridge building for the Department of Conservation since 2006. I personally have had the pleasure with working with them on unique projects like the 4 Paparoa track bridges, the 2 Westland Wilderness trail bridges, 8 bridges on the Heaphy track and many others in South Westland and Fiordland national parks. Their team of guys are extremely capable, hardworking and produce great results."

Jonathan Calder - Engineering Manager - Pou Matua Mātanga Kaihanga - Department of Conservation - Te Papa Atawhai

PROJECT EXAMPLES

HEAPHY RIVER BRIDGE, HEAPHY TRACK

Abseil Access safely constructed a new bridge crossing the Heaphy River near the Lewis Hut after the old bridge was washed away in a flood. In order to construct a replacement prior to the summer season, the DOC tendered out the super-structure construction only.

With 150m of deck, the bridge is one of the longest suspended decks in NZ. It spans the riverbank flood zones and arches upwards mid-span to allow for a high-water clearance. Due to limited site access 25 tons of materials and components were helicoptered to the site.

Nile River Bridge, Charleston

The Kawatiri Coastal Trail is a great addition to the network of cycle trails throughout the West Coast of NZ's South Island. Abseil Access was invited to design and build the last bridge on the trail where it ends in Charleston.

The 55m bridge was designed and built with a load capacity of 20 people (6x safety factor), but also be suitable for cyclists to pass in both directions. the aesthetic choice of dark stained allowed the bridge to blend into the environment very effectively. Public interest in the project was huge with locals visiting the site every day and keeping a close eye on the build team!

MARTINS CREEK, KAWATIRI TRAIL

Abseil Access won the tender to design a unique bridge on the Kawatiri Coastal trail. The work included the design and engineering of the bridge with a load capacity of 10 persons. The design required a width of 1500mm suitable for cyclist passing both directions and meeting the NZ cycle trail code grade 2, Fully corrosion resistant components throughout including 316 stainless steel main cables and aesthetic design and integration into the environment. The construction was also completed by Abseil Access team meeting or exceeding all customer and regulatory requirements

TUKITUKI BRIDGE, WAIPUKARAU

Waipukarau is situated on the Tukituki River. Abseil Access were invited to design a 93m bridge that could cross the river to join two cycle trails together. The final design was a 93m deck supported by 9m high towers 63m apart with a 10-person load capacity. The deck width of 1.2m allowed bikes to pass one another. The tower pads had additional 250SED piles driven to refusal in the river sand. 30m3 of concrete were poured to ensure solid foundations for the anchor blocks and the tower pads. The bridge was load tested to 3 tons on completion.

WAIHIANOA BRIDGE, MT RUAPEHU

Abseil Access won the tender for the rebuild of the 55m swing bridge across the Waihianoa stream on the southeast corner of the busy Round the Mountain track on Mt Ruapehu. The Existing bridge had reached the end of its life and was removed during the construction process. Due to the altitude of the project, a camp was established at 1500m in the alpine zone, on the slopes of an active volcano. Due to access limitations, all camp supplies and building materials were flown in by helicopter. The trail remained open throughout the project, with the public being able to cross the stream using a temporary bridge.

MACPHERSON CREEK, WEST COAST WILDERNESS TRAIL

The Wilderness trail is a 120km 4-day cycle ride through the rainforest and historic gold mining towns on the South Island Westcoast. The Kumara bridge crosses a chasm next to the Taramakau River. Abseil Access won the tender to design, engineer and construct the 75m long suspension bridge across the chasm. A 1.5m wide deck and 10-person load limit was incorporated to make it suitable for large cycle parties and small maintenance vehicles. Engineering review identified the tower footings and ground anchors required 16m3 of concrete. On completion, the bridge was successfully load tested to 5000kg.