Wigram Magdala Link Bridge Hero

Wigram Magdala Link Bridge

In a significant advance in engineering, Christchurch’s newest overpass features a world-first in quake-resilient technology and has been described as the ‘Ferrari’ of bridges.


With a growing population around Wigram, infrastructure was needed to ease congestion, improve journey times and to provide motorists and cyclists with a direct link to the Central City. The Wigram Magdala Link consists of an overbridge that joins Wigram Road and Magdala Place, better connecting the south-west of Christchurch with Riccarton and Addington.

What we did:

Opened in July 2016, the overbridge is 100 metres long. The main elements of this project were the construction of a three span Super-T bridge over State Highway 73; an intersection upgrade on busy major arterial roads; and 1.7km of approach roads. Works also involved complex utilities management; creek diversions and storm water drainage; traffic signals; kerb and channel; cycle ways and residential car parking; signage and markings; landscaping; and street furniture.

Our experienced team devised a forward thinking programme that enabled this project to be delivered two months ahead of time and under budget. This could only be achieved by strictly managing short range targets. Hawkins worked hard to achieve programme and eliminate various constructability risks with respect to the mechanically stabilised wall that interfaces with the bridge structure.

The opportunistic planning and material management by Hawkins was the principal catalyst for successful and early delivery of this project. For example, the completion of surcharge preloading and settlement was obtained in less than 2.5 months as opposed to 4-6 months.


Unique Challenges:

The project overcame many unique challenges. Innovative, seismically resilient connections at the bridge piers had to be engineered to minimise post-earthquake damage and prevent further seismic damage. It is the first bridge in the world, to adopt this low-damage technology. This project has also lifted the standard of safe work in key high risk areas such as working at heights; crane use; working around live plant; and working close to live traffic.


The Outcome:

It has been a very successful collaborative project with several stakeholders including the client, Christchurch City Council and the New Zealand Transport Agency working together. Graham Crow, Hawkins Regional Infrastructure Manager says, “Hawkins is committed to building better communities so we are particularly pleased to deliver this project well ahead of schedule so the Christchurch community can start benefitting significantly earlier than anticipated.”

“The Wigram Magdala Link is an important connector for both the local community around the overbridge and for cyclists travelling further afield on the Little River Link cycleway. It is great to see it operational. “The population around Wigram is growing and the Link will be an important piece of infrastructure for that community.”

Phil Clearwater

Chair of the Infrastructure, Transport and Environment Committee