Orakei Basin Walkway Hero

Orakei Basin Walkway: providing a much-needed link between Meadowbank and Orakei

Orakei Basin is connected to the Waitemata Harbour by Purewa Creek and Hobson Bay, and was once a flooded volcanic crater within mangrove forest. In the 1920’s, the basin was isolated from Purewa Creek and Hobson Bay by the construction of a railway embankment. This helped create a sheltered environment and altered the natural tidal flow in and out of the basin. The then Auckland City Council wished to create a link for cyclists and pedestrians between Meadowbank and Orakei across the Orakei Basin. They engaged Hawkins to carry out this high profile project.

Auckland City Council’s aims:

  • To create a link for pedestrians and cyclists between Meadowbank and Orakei across the Orakei Basin, via a well-designed walkway that creates value for its owners and the community.

What we did:

Creating the walkway was an exciting and rewarding challenge for our team. It became a reality as a result of the cumulative vision of Auckland City Council and the support of local residents and elected members.

This 9-month project involved constructing a glulam timber bridge and 1km of combined 2.5-metre wide boardwalk for pedestrians and cyclists between Orakei and Meadowbank alongside the existing railway track that traverses the water-filled basin. 200 metres of footpath was constructed to provide access from the road.

  • 200m² of topsoil was imported and grassed
  • 300m² was imported and planted with native shrubbery with mulch material sourced from onsite
  • 50m of 300 diameter storm water pipes were installed at 1.8m depth.

KiwiRail inductions were required for all staff and a spotted uses while access was required on the rail bridge. 50 metres of the rail corridor was fenced with commercial pool fencing to prevent pedestrian access.

We took care to coordinate activities with Auckland City Council and other key stakeholders to provide what is now a significant new recreational asset for the community - one that will ultimately form part of a wider cycling and walking network that will go out as far as the sea.

We completed the project ahead of the official November 2010 deadline. A total of 57 employees, plant staff and subcontractors were inducted under the project’s health, safety and environmental plan. Toolbox meetings were held onsite weekly. There were no loss of time incidents for the project, with a total of 1348 man-hours for Hawkins staff and 6602 for subcontractors.

Unique challenges:

  • The project commenced in February 2010 and from the outset the team was challenged by the tide, which created the timings around which piling work could take place. We also had to work around the many community uses of the basin and along the rail corridor.
  • Environmental management was critical because of the site’s location within the coastal environment. Under the Coastal Management Act this required environmental inspections to be executed by Auckland Regional Council. To meet these and avoid adverse effects from construction, environmental measures such as silt fencing, hay bales and straw stabilising were used.

The outcome:

We completed this project ahead of the November 2010 deadline. Our team enjoyed working with the community to give a great recreational asset back to Auckland City.

The walkway enables recreational users to circumnavigate the Basin without having to compete with cars. It also offers great connectivity for residents to local rail stations and alternative arterial public transport routes.