International Conference Features Hurunui District Council Case Study

Dick Davisons photo of Leslie Hills BridgeFollowing on from Hurunui District Council’s gold prize award at the 2017 IPWEA NZ Excellence Awards (Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia), council engineering assets manager, David Edge, was sponsored to attend the Bridge Asset Management & Renewal Conference where he would present on how the council managed to cost-effectively save the Leslie Hills Bridge following a collapsed support pier back in September 2013.

The Australians were keen to hear how this small district in New Zealand not only fixed the immediate problem, but the remediation was also to later prove its effectiveness in the November 2016 earthquake (where the 7.8 epicentre was just down the road) and a significant rainfall event in 2017.

Mr Edge did the council and the district proud, delivering a 40 minute presentation to a riveted audience as well as chairing three 20-minute sessions that looked in greater depth at the process which recognised the value of early community and stakeholder engagement, a comprehensive communication plan and a strategy for full transparency of process and decision making.

Mr Edge said that it was a privilege to have been invited to speak at such an auspicious event, and that it was also a great opportunity for him to be able to see the latest technology and processes in use in Australia and to consider how this could benefit Hurunui and New Zealand. He also acknowledges that this project’s success was as a result of some really great teamwork by many parties and that he was the lucky one to receive the gold prize award on their behalf.


On 12 September 2013, a significant rainfall event caused the northern pier to undermine and collapse. The bridge was cordoned off. Just one week later, the temporary bolstered bridge was reopened to light vehicles (4,000kg max Gross Mass and max 20 kph).

The full restoration of the bridge was completed in just over a year, which was a significant accomplishment taking into consideration the requirements for public engagement, consents, design, seasonal access and prior testing to ensure a satisfactory, cost-effective ‘right-size’ solution.

Leslie Hills Bridge Sept 15 2013 montage