NEW ZEALAND’S LONGEST TIMBER SUSPENSION BRIDGE

Abseil Access constructed a new bridge crossing the Heaphy River on the Heaphy Track – one of the Great Walks – in Kahurangi National Park.

The bridge has a 149-metre-long deck and a 98-metre span between two 11-metre high timber towers, making it the largest of its kind in New Zealand. The deck spans the riverbank flood zones as well as arching upwards mid span to allow for high water clearance.

The 25 tons of timber and stainless steel components were pre-prepared and flown in from Karamea by helicopter. The five-man team completed construction in 14 days, well ahead of the projected timeframe and ready for trampers to use over summer.

Thanks are due to the locals who helped on this project: to Aaron Crabb and Mark Ibbotson, who worked on the bridge, to Mark’s dad Tony for the meat and the whitebait, and to Wayne the helicopter pilot – see karameahelicopter.co.nz.

Mountainbikers will be able to test the bridge’s capabilities this winter.