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Grafton Bridge safety screens win award

AUCKLAND CITY COUNCIL MEDIA RELEASE

12 June 2007

Grafton Bridge safety screens win award

Auckland City Council has received a national award for their innovative glass safety screens on Grafton Bridge.

Auckland City Council heritage chief advisor George Farrant says the award from the New Zealand Institute of Architects recognises the success of the council project in "meeting the need to install an unclimbable barrier while preserving views and creating a visually-appealing shelter, all without compromising the high visual and engineering heritage status of the bridge".

The screens are made of curved, 18mm laminated glass to allow easy cleaning and minimise vandalism. The judges described the screens as giving "a jewel-like quality to a much-loved icon" and said they provided "nurturing sheltered passage well in excess of their protective brief".

"The screens are a rare example of how a potentially difficult addition to an important heritage icon can be turned from imposition to inspiration," Mr Farrant says. "Further work to strengthen Grafton Bridge to withstand major earthquakes is also being done with great care for the bridge's top-shelf heritage values," he says.

Grafton Bridge, which was the largest reinforced concrete arch in the southern hemisphere when it was completed in 1910, is internationally recognised as an historic structure. The screens were added in 2002 to make crossing the bridge safer for pedestrians, at a cost of around $900,000.

Grafton Bridge is a major link in the Central Connector project, the council's largest public transport initiative since Britomart.

The Central Connector will create a dedicated bus route between the CBD and Newmarket, reducing peak journey times for thousands of passengers. As part of project construction later this year, the bridge will undergo extensive structural strengthening.

Strengthening work includes installing piles at the base of the foundations of the bridge's main piers, internally strengthening the piers, and retrofitting the underside of the bridge deck with carbon fibre reinforced polymer.

ENDS


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