Top accolade for landmark bridge

Eadon Consulting's Michael Thorogood is interviewed by a New Zealand TV station in front of the Hatea River Crossing bridge.
Eadon Consulting's Michael Thorogood is interviewed by a New Zealand TV station in front of the Hatea River Crossing bridge.
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Advanced Manufacturing Park-based Eadon Consulting is celebrating success in the annual Civic Trust Awards for its part in the construction of a landmark bridge in Whangarei, New Zealand.

Eadon helped McConnell Dowell and Transfield Services to design the operating equipment and mechanical elements of the multimillion pound bridge over the Hatea River.

The bridge is designed to mimic a medieval drawbridge, with a counterweight balancing a central span that can be easily lifted to allow boats to pass through and has been named Te Matau a Pohe - or the Fish Hook of Pohe because of its landmark design.

In its citation, the Civic Trust says: “The design is simple and spectacular, whether static or in motion and is designed to be safe and enjoyable to use whether by foot, cycle or vehicle.

“The bridge has become a public landmark, reflecting the art and culture of the Maori people, with the curved ‘J’ form and the shape of the counterweights offering a stylised interpretation of the fish hook motif - hei matau - that is central to Maori culture.

“It combines a memorable architectural form with an efficient and functional piece of structural engineering.”

Only two other bridges in the world use a design similar to Te Matau a Pohe, which has a single, 25 metre long, counter-balanced leaf opened by hydraulic rams, operating from one side of the bridge.

Challenges faced by the team included difficult working conditions, a tight budget and limited time frame.

Eadon Consulting was founded six years ago by James Hill, David Price and Michael Thorogood and has expanded into larger premises on the Advanced Manufacturing Park five times since then.

The company employs 14 staff, working on projects involving waterways, flood defences, renewable energy, moveable structures and bridges.

More recently it has broken into offshore handling and the nuclear sector, for which it has designed bespoke lifting equipment.