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BRIDGE DESIGN, ENGINEERING & CONSTRUCTION


The Abseil Access Specialist Bridge Division is proud to say that since 2006, over 75 of our bridge designs have been selected and constructed across all areas of New Zealand and the Pacific islands. No matter how remote the location, or how challenging the design, our passionate team have consistently delivered innovative, high quality, and fully engineered solutions which has seen Abseil Access become recognised as a market leader in pedestrian and cycle trail suspension bridge and swing bridge design, engineering, and construction.

Some of our clients have included the Department of Conservation (DOC), Waka Kotahi NZTA, Kiwirail, Greater Wellington, Hawkes Bay Regional Council, Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary, Buller District Council, Western Bay of Plenty DC, Tauranga City Council, Southern Land Consultancy, Greytown Trails Trust, Queenstown Trails Trust, Downer and Westland District Councils.


  • Comprehensive Site Survey
  • Bridge Design
  • Bridge Concept Select
  • Design Compliance Studies
  • Engineering Calculations
  • Geological Engineering
  • CPENG Design Certification
  • Quality Assurance and Quality Control
  • Local Consent & Approval

BRIDGE DESIGN & CONCEPT SELECTION


Our team work closely with each client to understand their needs and produce the perfect solution. Our design team produce all of our bridge models in Solidworks 3D and with CPENG sign off. For conventional bridge designs jobs, our standardised designs can be modified to any width up to 2.5m and any load up to 4kPa ‘unlimited pedestrian’. The AA team also have the ability to complete resource and building consents if requested.

We pride ourselves in producing bridges that are economical to build, fit-for-purpose, and aesthetic pleasing. We use stainless steel cables and fasteners to meet 50-100 years life. We can also incorporate sustainably resourced, native timbers for decorative handrails and carved infill panels.

With over 75 bridge builds to date, take a look at our wide range of building projects.


  • Site Survey & Inspection
  • Design Discussions and Consultancy
  • Bridge Conceptual Design
  • 3D Modelling
  • Design Compliance
  • Resource and Building Consents
  • Initial Materials Selection
  • Class 2 and Class 3 Estimation

BRIDGE ENGINEERING


Bridge engineering is an engineering discipline branching from civil engineering that involves the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of bridges to ensure safe and effective transportation of vehicles, people, and goods.

Abseil Access has completed the end-to-end process of design, engineering, local approvals, and construction of swing bridge and suspension bridges across some of the most stunning parts of New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Our engineering capabilities include:


  • Site Survey and Set Out Planning
  • Design of Excavations, Piling, and Foundations
  • Plan Drill and Blast Requirements
  • Review of Drill and Grouting Requirements
  • Sequencing of Tower Build
  • Engineering Review of Rigging and Material Selection
  • Lifting and Rigging Engineering
  • Geological Engineering
  • Design Engineering Calculations

BRIDGE CONSENTS & APPROVALS


Once the Abseil Access team have worked closely with the client to finalise the bridge design, engineering drawings, materials, and costings to a class-1 estimate, we are able to offer a comprehensive service to navigate and attain the necessary approvals to enable the bridge construction to commence.


  • Develop Site Plans Showing Locality of the Structure
  • Geological and Hydrology Assessments
  • Design Certification by CPENG/Registered Architect (PS1, PS2)
  • Designed to Standards and Still Maintain Client Expectations
  • Procurement of Resource and Building Consents
  • Proposed Construction Monitoring of the Construction by Engineer/CPENG
  • Independent QA/QC Systems During Construction
  • Site Safety Management Plans
  • Site Monitoring by Engineer/CPENG of the Construction Work.
  • Issuing of PS4 at Completion

PROJECT EXAMPLES

MARTINS CREEK, KAWATIRI TRAIL

Abseil Access won the tender to design and build the bridge that crosses Martins Creek, a small tidal estuary cutting across the Kawatiri Coastal Trail. Access to the site is complicated by the tidal nature of the surroundings and the sensitive wetland location, but our team took extra precautions to impact the environment as little as possible. The bridge’s main cable anchors were concrete which was poured using a helicopter. All fasteners, plates, dropper cables and wind cables are 316 stainless steel, and all timber is H4 treated to meet a design life of 25 years minimum in a harsh coastal environment.

SPECULARITE GULLY BRIDGE, LAKE DUNSTAN TRAIL

The Lake Dunstan trail is part of the cycle trails throughout Central Otago. Abseil Access won the tender to design and build the 86m Specularite bridge. All materials had to be flown in by helicopter, including the pneumatic drill rig, compressor and grout plant.

The Main cable anchors were drilled 9m into the hard rock to provide a working load capacity of over 300kN. The main cables were designed to support 15 tons of deck, a 240kN live load, or a snow load of 25tons and wind cables designed to stabilise the deck in winds up to 230km/hr.

PORT VILA, VANUATU

Abseil Access were approached to design a 120m long swing bridge over a spectacular gorge in Vanuatu.

The design and engineering of the bridge needed to have a load capacity of 20 people and meet international standards. All engineering was completed by Abseil in NZ and all components’ parts were manufactured and shipped from NZ.

Local construction crews working with us built the foundations according to our design criteria before our specialist arrived to complete the cable installation and deck construction.

ARTISTIC BRIDGE, URETARA STREAM, KATIKATI

The Bay of Plenty bridge build saw AA’s world-class engineering skills combine seamlessly with local artistic design.

Many of the bridge’s key elements were made from repurposed materials; the Jarrah tower poles were from the Wellington trolley bus overhead lines, the tower bracings were disused rail irons, and the handrails were recovered swamp totara. This give gave the whole bridge historic rail line representative feel. As an added touch, the handrails were carved with local native flora and fauna imagery.

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.

SUICIDE SLIP BRIDGES (3), OLD GHOST RD

The Old Ghost Rd, which follows the Mokohinui River, suffered major slips through the gorge section. When the trail was upgraded 3 bridges were required to provide safe access.

Abseil Access had the unique combination of design capability, adaptive engineering, explosive expertise, rope access, cliff face drilling technology and bridge building experience to provide a safe solution to this hazardous section of gorge. The bridges are all rated for 2 person and passed the load test of 750kg.

MACPHERSON CREEK, WEST COAST WILDERNESS TRAIL

The Wilderness trail is a 120km 4 day cycle ride through rain forest 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 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.