The Makatote railway viaduct is located between Ohakune and National Park in the Central North Island and is a critical link in the North Island Main Trunk Line in New Zealand.
The last full repaint of the viaduct was carried out during the 1950’s with subsequent touch ups completed in the 1990’s. The life extension project was the first full refurbishment of the steel structure in 60 years. The scope of the project included:
The project involved approximately 127,000 man hours, requiring a crew of up to 30 people on site throughout the duration the works. This was a logistically and operationally challenging project, particularly with respect to access and containment of the structure, the unforgiving nature of the climate and the ongoing demands of working over a highly sensitive environment that was home to a number of endangered species.
A specialised access and containment system was designed and developed for the project consisting of hanging scaffold and a pier access system. Strict controls were developed and incorporated into all project activities to ensure that the works do not impact upon the local environment.
In addition to this, KiwiRail initiated and funded a stoat trapping programme to be administered during the course of the works in an effort to further enhance the local bird population in the area. The project programme and the coatings system were designed with the difficult climatic conditions of the site in mind which allowed painting to continue throughout the year.