Orakei Bridge Replacement Starts


Preparatory works are getting underway for one of KiwiRail’s big Christmas rail projects - the replacement of the Orakei rail bridge.

That bridge over the North island Main Trunk line is being replaced to ensure there’s enough clearance for the overhead wires for the new Auckland electric trains that start arriving in 2013.

The bridge will be raised by one metre. It will also enable a third rail line to be possible.

At the same time, Auckland Transport is funding the wider footpaths and traffic lanes that become possible with the increased width of the bridge and also is making a better alignment of the bridge to provide  animproved approach radius to the bridge from the south.

Orakei rail bridge replacement: Over Christmas the first span

The local board, the Orakei Local Board, is chipping in with AT for a walkway extension under the bridge.

During the Christmas rail shutdown, part of the existing bridge will be demolished and the first of two spans over the existing bridge structure will be constructed.

Road traffic wil be shifted to the Orakei Basin side and will be always two way. A temporary overbridge will be provided for pedestrians.

Between April and June, the second wider span will be built and toad traffic, still two-way, will be shifted to the station side.

Orakei railbridge: Stage two the wider second span

The new bridge should be opened in July.

Orakei railbridge: In July tidy work and the bridge opens

At Puhinui in Papatoetoe, other work has begun, paid for by Watercare.

Watercare is laying a 160-metre-long section of watermain crossing under the railway tracks adjacent to the station.

The ageing footbridge that passes over the tracks is being replaced at the same time.

A temporary walkway and bridge enables people to still get to the station while this is happening.

The new bridge will be finished in April.

Other work over the Christmas period and the weekend closures leading up to it includes:

  • The changes to the Ellerslie train station involving platform, track and bridge changes to enable NZTA to have a fourth motorway lane
  • The lowering of tracks between Parnell and Newmarket around the Mainline steam train depot for the new Parnell train stop
  • For the new electric trains  we will see more masts and hopefully the first wiring
  • Preparations for the new electric train depot at Wiri
  • A major track re-arrangement at Papakura to improve freight train flows and accommodate the changeover between diesel and electric trains and a station revamp
  • Replacements for the Mt Wellington Highway Bridge and the Morrin Road Bridge

And Auckland motorists will find motorway closures and disruptions because of big projects starting now and going over the holiday period.




  1. Geoff says:

    It’s good to see the new bridge at Orakei has space for four tracks. Let’s hope that the rest of the tunnel structure that will eventually run beneath the proposed development there will be of the same width, and not restricted to three tracks.

  2. Jarrod says:

    I wonder if there are plans to continue the pedestrian walkway across Hobson Bay to the Parnell Baths? That would be great. I could walk all the way directly to town then. Pretty much. Surely they will do it?

  3. Jon R says:

    Yes Jarrod, agreed. That would be excellent. Would be popular with walkers, cyclists and joggers.

  4. Evan J says:

    While they are on the job at Puhinui replacing the pedestrian bridge, why dont they make it a proper road bridge, and straighten out that stupid dog leg in Puhinui Road.

  5. Ben says:

    I think Puhinui got superceeded by the new Cavendish Road and State Highway 20 link up - but getting rid of that dogged dog leg would be nice.

    Jarrod, I hear your comments and a walkway would be nice where you have suggested
    Then again so would the Eastern Highway that had a walk way built in.

    BTW at Orakei does any one know what is happening with that super apartment development what was meant to happen there?

  6. Rtc says:

    The dog leg is there to reduce traffic.

    A cycle lane next to a railway is quite different to one next to a ghastly city destroying motorway.

  7. Matt L says:

    I heard that Kiwirail offered to connect up Puhinui Rd instead of rebuilding bridge St last year but the Manukau city council didn’t want to and as pointed out, Cavendish Dr is now more of the focus leaving Puhinui Rd as a road for locals.

    I have also heard (and I don’t know how true it is) that the dog leg was originally put in there so that pilots didn’t mistake it for the airport runway because when you look at a map it is pretty much a direct approach.

  8. Bryce says:

    How much do ya think it would cost to do a proper cycleway alongside the eastern line? I’ve thought that if you made it wider than average it could even be used for training/racing.

  9. Nick R says:

    They have budgeted $8 million to link the NW cycleway at Waterview to the Waikaraka cycleway at Onehunga, that works out to about $1 million per km.

    Based on that I’d say about $6 million from Panmure to Meadowbank, assuming the cycleway climbs over the St Johns ridge instead of having a new tunnel.

    Then another $5 million from Orakei to Quay St (allowing extra to build the structure across the bay).

    So maybe ten or twelve million for a ten km route, pretty damned cheap if it can attract 6-800 riders a day like the NW cycleway does.

  10. Robincole says:

    First overhead wiring has already started going up around Ranui and Swanson.

  11. Publius says:

    Re, the dog-leg in Puhinui Rd, I’ve always just assumed that it was required because the Station is too close to Puhinui Rd so when trains are in the station the crossing would remain down and block traffic for a long time which is unacceptable for a reasonably busy road.
    And the gradient doesn’t lend itself to an overbridge in the obvious place hence the dog-leg.

  12. Max says:

    It’s great to see official plans showing that the walk/cycleway will continue UNDER Orakei Road. Because the original designs had it removed, and crossing at grade, a great lost opportunity.

    Thankfully, the Orakei Local Board pushed for it to continue under the bridge.

    As for a continuation to Tamaki Drive, that would indeed be a great idea. However, I would remain wary of any attempts to guess the costs to extend it atong the causeway. The $8 million for the Waterview cycleway mostly pays for 2 bridges needed for the cycleway, not for the cycleway itself.

    On the other hand, in THIS case, the cycleway would have to either boardwalk over a tidal bay, or extend the rail embankment (the latter likely way too costly for a cycleway), so the actual costs are still pretty much unknown at this stage. It is an obvious project to be done though, with great opportunities for recreation and commuting.

    “How much do ya think it would cost to do a proper cycleway alongside the eastern line?”

    The main issue with a cycleway along the Eastern Rail Line further east would be the Purewa Tunnel, i.e. getting up to the higher level of the crest in a fashion useful for more than just hill-climbing athlethes ;-) Again, very worthy idea indeed - and it is already included in the Regional Cycle Network as a potential future route. Whether we will get it in 3 years or in 15 is all up to our Council and national-level government…

    “Re, the dog-leg in Puhinui Rd,”

    As of this weekend, they are preparing to demolish the old pedesstrian bridge there. Hope the new station bridge with electrification clearance will still be of use for walking and cycling.


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