The joint ventures inhouse Temporary Works Design team developed the ‘Rail Protection Shield’ from a concept originating with Inovo Projects and Auckland Transport. The protection shield mitigates the risk of lifting heavy loads across the tracks into the centre of the operational rail corridor without the need of a Block of Line or shutting down the power for the electrified lines.

“The rail protection deck is a unique safety structure that has never been done before in New Zealand and has set precedent for alternative protection measures… when it comes to rail safety,” says Bryce Ongley, KiwiRail National Corridor Permit Manager.

It is a steel and wood platform that spans the track and forms a safety barrier between tonnes of steel and concrete and the 25,000kv live wires. Construction work that had previously been scheduled for small windows when trains weren’t running, can now also be done at any time of the day without disruption to passenger services.

Ongley goes on to say “… when I speak to people about the reduction in time available to contractors to complete works in the rail corridor; I point out the rail protection shield as an example to show what clever innovation and consultation with stakeholders can achieve.”

Auckland Transport’s Portfolio Delivery Director (projects), David Nelson, says collaboration on this project has been key, “collaborative, early partnerships with contractors pay dividends, and Puhinui is a great example of that.”

The Puhinui Interchange is a key component of the Southwest Gateway, a programme aimed at enhancing transport connectivity between the region’s central business district and Auckland International Airport; including south and east Auckland. It is also a catalyst for wider bus and rail connections to enable more sustainable transport modes.