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Historic Ferry Terminal Building Case Study


CLIENT: Auckland Regional Transport Authority
PROJECT: 32m Aluminium Bridge
YEAR: 2008
LOCATION: Auckland, New Zealand

To safely get people from one pier to another, while protecting an adjacent historic building.
In downtown Auckland lies the historic harbour building, a landmark for the city and the gateway to its public ferry services. The city’s regional transport agency approached Manson Engineering to develop a solution to link the two piers at the terminal, which are adjacent to the historic building. Simply craning in precast concrete to link the two structures was an option, as was building a steel bridge, however the weight and proximity to the building would pose too many risks. Manson knew there was a better way.

Design and build a light aluminium bridge to link the two piers.
After careful assessment of the site and collaborating with the team, aluminium was selected as the material to build a bridge to link the two piers. While both concrete and steel were considered, aluminium was the preferred option for a number of reasons. Not only was aluminium the most cost-effective material, it is also extremely light and easy to work with. The lightweight installa-tion posed minimal impact on the load of the adjacent building. Working around the historic building posed multiple risks but the aluminium structure could easily be barged onto the site, negating the need for large cranes next to the building and avoiding any traffic management issues. Aluminium is an ideal material for use in harsh weather conditions due to its excellent resistance to corrosion which was a further benefit of selecting this material for the marine waterfront. Maintenance of the bridge has been significantly reduced with no need for additional coatings or re-galvanizing, and subsequently disrupting commuter traffic. Finally, in the unlikely event that a ferry hit the bridge, the aluminium would act as a crumple-zone minimizing any direct impact to the building. Today the bridge provides an attractive walkway for the thousands of tourists and commuters who use the ferry services, allowing them to safely traverse between the piers and enjoy the majestic architecture around them.

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