LOCALS and visitors to Taranaki can now promenade with the best in the world on New Plymouth’s waterfront foreshore. The foreshore development, which consists of a concrete walkway with a timber deck and boulders leading up from the sea, has offered access to what was previously a mostly unattractive and inaccessible wasteland.
Stage Four of the project, a one kilometre section of the promenade and a 5.5 metre high retaining wall, is due for completion prior to Christmas this year. Stresscrete supplied the Precast Concrete panels for this stage, produced with Golden Bay Cement. The retaining wall and walkway section, located at the northern end of the foreshore development, is often subjected to high seas, so concrete provides a high strength, resilient and durable material.
Hayden Markham of Stresscrete in New Plymouth explains that the retaining wall structure creates an arm-like support between the cliff wall and floor. The massive 16.8 tonne panels are tapered in thickness from a 650mm base to 250mm at the top to allow for the large pressure created behind the wall. The panels are 2.5 metres wide and were produced in varying heights - 2.6m, 5.1m and 5.5m. “Precast Concrete panels provided a flexible construction component that created a structurally sound retaining wall able to withstand the natural elements,” says Hayden Markham.
1,100m3 of concrete were supplied by Firth Certified to produce 186 Precast Concrete panels for Stage Four. In keeping with the simple, clean design envisaged by designers Isthmus Consultants and Richard Bain, 90 of the panels have an exposed aggregate finish while the remaining 96 are finished with a timber impregnated look. As shown in the photo (above right) accompanying this story, this creates a wave washed appearance on the seaside leading to a smooth look mimicking a sandy beach at low tide on the city side of the pathway.
The concrete pathway which, once completed, will meander for six kilometres along the New Plymouth coastline, is complemented by robust boulders on the seaward side and simple, robust landscaping on the city side of the walkway. All of which suit the harsh environment created by an often unpredictable Tasman Sea. But despite the conditions, the waterfront is now an area that is well utilised by residents - a place to mix and mingle, and enjoy the Taranaki coastline.
Principle contractor Fletcher Construction’s Bob Thomson says,“The foreshore project has caused the city to focus their outlook towards the sea, where previously many of the buildings had turned their back on the coastline. Various new buildings have since been constructed, are under construction or are proposed which are taking advantage of the improved outlook. The foreshore is now visited by crowds of Taranakians on a daily basis and is also very popular with visitors to the region.”