Te Rewa Rewa 'best in the world'

FAMOUS FOOTBRIDGE: New Plymouth's Te Rewa Rewa bridge has scooped the international footbridge award at a ceremony in Poland this morning.
FAMOUS FOOTBRIDGE: New Plymouth's Te Rewa Rewa bridge has scooped the international footbridge award at a ceremony in Poland this morning.

Te Rewa Rewa bridge is the best little bridge in the world.

The distinctive 70-metre footbridge over New Plymouth's Waiwhakaiho River was announced the winner of its category at the Footbridge Awards in Poland early this morning.

The latest award, which saw the bridge beat out six European contenders, comes on the back of two other prizes for the Taranaki icon.

New Plymouth Mayor Harry Duynhoven is in Wroclaw in Poland collecting the award for the aesthetics medium category.

"These awards are hotly contested and it's a huge boost for our industries for a New Zealand bridge to be judged the best in any category," Mr Duynhoven said.

The judges were split across some categories but were unanimous about Te Rewa Rewa, Mr Duynhoven said.

The Footbridge Awards started in 2002 in Paris and are held every three years. This year's awards attracted 55 entries from 18 countries with seven finalists shortlisted across six categories.

Te Rewa Rewa bridge was up against competition from Spain, Belgium, France and England for the overall award.

The judges described the Taranaki entry as a stunning iconic structure with simple form and excellent attention to detail.

"The use of arch and ribs to produce the skeletal form is very well done. The change from a traditional elevation to the more oblique views gives this one the wow factor," the judges said.

The award is the second of international status for the bridge after becoming the first in the southern hemisphere to win the Arthur G. Hayden medal from the International Bridge Conference.

The conference recognises outstanding achievement in bridge engineering that demonstrates innovation in special-use bridges.

The vision of Te Rewa Rewa was conceived by New Plymouth District Council and funded by the NZ Transport Agency, council and the Whitaker Family Trust. The bridge opened last year as part of the northern extension of the Coastal Walkway. Te Rewa Rewa Bridge also won the Ingenium Excellence Award for projects between $2 million and $10m.

Taranaki Daily News