Project spans lofty challenges

23:47, Jan 21 2013
Hamilton’s PFS Engineering
Super steel: Hamilton’s PFS Engineering project engineer Laurence Brown, foreground, and boilermaker Zeb van Zyl with the final span of a bridge headed for Auckland.

Hamilton's PFS Engineering reckons it could probably add the claim ''sculptor'' to its skills list after building a major new feature of Auckland's transport infrastructure, the Pt Resolution footbridge at Parnell.

The Riverlea Rd company is just completing the third and final architecturally  designed sweeping and curved span of the Auckland Council  project, a job it won just over five months ago.

Project manager, engineer Laurence Brown, said PFS was  no stranger to big engineering jobs but the Parnell project was  its most technically challenging to date.

''It is more a sculpture than a bridge.''

There are around 30 tonnes of steelwork in the 70-metre-long structure, which rises above Tamaki Dr  on Auckland's waterfront, and crosses railway lines and the Judges Bay inlet.  When the third span stage is erected, the structure will land almost on the back doorstep of the Parnell pools.

Brown said other  challenges of the job were in the engineering translation of the architects' flaring, curving spans design; working with the thickness of the required steel, and the spectre of time.


KiwiRail could shut down rail operations only after Christmas and until January 9, meaning two-thirds of the $3.5million project had to be up by that date,  and electrification of the railway lines is also currently under way.

Brown said PFS would finish the third stage in March.

PFS is a private company which has been in business since the 1990s.

 Around two years ago it merged with MacArthur Engineering but projects are still undertaken under both brands.  PFS specialises in heavy steel work, while MacArthur is a sheetmetal specialist.

PFS is the subcontractor to Hawkins for the Parnell project.