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Perry Bridge is New Zealand’s first network arch bridge designed specifically for pedestrians and cyclists, and took out the best pedestrian bridge award at the global Structural Awards 2018

New Zealand’s Perry Bridge wins international engineering award

An eye-catching bridge in the heart of the Waikato has beaten structures from around the world to scoop an international award for engineering excellence.


Just over a year since it opened to the public, the Perry Bridge, situated on Te Awa The Great River Ride, has taken out the top award for pedestrian bridges at the Institution of Structural Engineers Structural Awards in London.

Designed by leading structural and civil engineering business Holmes Consulting and built by Emmetts Civil Construction, the Perry Bridge is New Zealand’s first network arch bridge designed specifically for pedestrians and cyclists. The bridge is the longest of all four network arch bridges in the country.

Holmes Consulting CEO Hamish Nevile says: “We’re incredibly proud of the work behind the Perry Bridge. To have our efforts recognised and commended on an international stage and by those at the top of our industry is a huge honour. It’s also testament to the world-class skill and talent we have in the structural engineering sector, right here in New Zealand.

“The solution for the Perry Bridge went beyond just an elegant design. The efforts of the team to develop a truly innovative launching strategy was a world-first and produced an extraordinary outcome, one which we are confident will be celebrated and revered for generations to come.”

Elegant design

A judging panel comprising international experts in engineering, design, architecture and construction recognised the bridge’s role as an important connection for pedestrians and cyclists in the Waikato, and noted that the elegance of the bridge’s design has captured the public’s imagination.

Positioned over the Waikato River, the bridge features mosaic artworks at each end, which were designed by local schools situated on either side. Adding further local flavour to the design, the colour scheme, patterned surfacing and lighting were developed with local artists to reflect the themes and the story of the Te Awa pathway.

The judges also commended the unique and ingenious construction method to build the bridge. A first for this type of structure, the Holmes Consulting team innovatively decided to launch the bridge across the Waikato River by sliding the leading end along tensioned cables.


The Structural Awards have been running for more than 50 years and past winners include the Sydney Opera House, the London Velodrome, and the Pompidou Centre in Paris.

The international award win is the latest in a number of accolades recognising the engineering design excellence and innovative construction behind the completion of the Perry Bridge. In addition to a silver award at the Association of Consulting Engineers New Zealand (ACENZ) Innovate Awards, the structure also took out a top honour at the New Zealand Bridge Awards in early November.

For a full list of winners of the international Structural Awards, visit istructe.org/structuralawards/winners

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