Makatote Viaduct claims two NZ Engineering Excellence Category Awards
The Makatote Viaduct received an early birthday present when it was announced the winner of two New Zealand Engineering
Excellence Category Awards at TE PAPA, Wellington last night.
ONTRACK, the New Zealand Railways Corporation, took out the Building and Construction and the Roads and Transport
Completed over three years and opened in 1908, Makatote was the last viaduct on the main line between Auckland and
Wellington. ONTRACK undertook to re-strengthen its vulnerable foundations when it was identified as one of the highest
structural risks on the New Zealand Railway Network.
Makatote Viaduct, located just 12 km south of the Tongariro National Park, was constructed from steel girder and is 262
metres long and the third highest railway viaduct in New Zealand.
The North Island main trunk line is a vital link in New Zealand’s economic activities. The line crosses the Makatote
River on the high and slender Makatote Viaduct, but river erosion threatened the foundations of one of the viaduct’s
piers, creating an unacceptably high risk of catastrophic failure. The chosen remedial design solution involved
transferring the pier load to two deep piles via a post-tensioned concrete beam.
David Elms DistFIPENZ, Convenor of the Category Awards judging panel said the judges considered this significant piece
of structural engineering to be world best-practice in retrofitting. They unanimously agreed that this innovative
project demonstrating both technical and contractual skill resulted in a fine example of engineering excellence.
"The work had to be carried out while normal rail traffic continued to use the viaduct. Difficult site access, tight
environmental requirements and at times atrocious weather added to the project’s challenges”, said
He says the resulting solution used world best-practice in driving the piles, displayed significant ingenuity in
overcoming problems, and makes a significant contribution to the reputation of New Zealand engineering.
The third New Zealand Engineering Excellence Awards are the premier awards for New Zealand engineering professionals.
The awards are presented in two major areas: Individual Awards, that recognise leadership, entrepreneurship, and our
young engineers; and Category Awards, that recognise achievement in the various industry areas, together with a Supreme
Award for the best of the Category winners.
The New Zealand Engineering Excellence Awards are hosted by a consortium of five partners and 10 contributing
organisations. The partners are: Centre for Advanced Engineering (CAE); Association of Local Government Engineering New
Zealand Incorporated (INGENIUM); Electricity Engineers Association of New Zealand (EEA); Association of Consulting
Engineers New Zealand (ACENZ); and the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand Inc (IPENZ).