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Auckland Transport

Ferry terminal pier 4 Ferry terminal pier 4

Downtown Ferry Terminal pier 4 will be replaced with a new purpose-built pontoon and gangway structure.

Project status: Completed.
Project zone: Central.

Project purpose

Pier 4 was originally installed as a temporary ferry berth in the early 2000s.

The need to replace it with something more permanent was recognised fairly early on, but funding priorities in the late 2000s meant that very little was done (beyond some investigation and concept designs as part of the overall Downtown Ferry Terminal Development Plan).

The existing fuel barge pontoon is past its serviceable life and although not unsafe to continue using, it's certainly showing its age and limitations as passenger numbers and ferry services have increased in recent years. The old barge isn’t up to the standards expected by the public or operators, especially compared to some of the rail and bus infrastructure being rolled out across the region.

With this in mind, Auckland Transport (AT) is constructing a new $1.5m pontoon and gangway structure that will replace the old pier 4.

Project details

The new pier will provide much-needed passenger upgrades:

  • Sheltered passenger waiting areas (on the gangway).
  • Improved passenger accessibility, lighting and security.
  • Will cater for an increased number of services for the future.

To reduce disruption to passengers and ferry services, the new pontoon and gangway will be built offsite. They will then be delivered to the ferry terminal on a large barge.

The wharf was closed on 4 September 2015. The existing pier structure will be removed, then new anchor piles will be driven and the new pontoon and gangway structure will be floated into poisition and lifted into place.

Ferry services and HOP card readers will be temporarily relocated to other areas within the Downtown Ferry Terminal.

Works should be finished in late September with the wharf fully operation and services returned in early October (depending on weather).

  • Total Marine Service and Manson Marine have fabricated new pontoon units and a new 28m aluminium covered and enclosed gangway structure that will provide covered waiting on the gangway structure (something long-missing from pier 4) and increased accessibility for passengers and operators.
  • It will have a much larger pontoon (each 28m x 6m) for increased stability, passenger comfort and vessel berthing in swell, multi-level boarding capabilities and passenger movement (fore, aft and mid-ship)  and future-proofing features for future increased services and passenger levels.
  • The project protects and integrates existing heritage aspects at Downtown Ferry Terminal pier 4 – mainly the light column and hand-railing (as well as the associated kiosk works currently underway).
  • Improved layover facilities for Operators – which will allow services to commence from pier 4 much earlier each morning and run much later in the evening as/when needed.


Closure: 4 September 2015 at 9pm

  • The old pier was closed Friday evening after the last ferry service. Layover was permitted, all vessels needed to vacate by 6am Saturday morning.

5 September 2015

  • Disconnection of HOP card readers, services and utilities including, power, water, fibre, CCTV and Fullers /360 WiFi in readiness for demolition on Monday morning (and the transference of week-day services for the coming weeks).

7 September 2015

  • On Monday morning, the old gangway was disconnected and placed on the old barge.
  • The anchor pile rings were also disconnected and the old barge gently towed away from its piles for scrap/recycling.

8 september 2015

  • The seawall/abutment section and walkway was disconnected from the heritage steps and craned onto the old barge. Four old redundant timber fender piles removed.

9 September 2015

  • Total Marine – with the aid of commercial divers – began cutting the old anchor piles off at seabed level using a plasma cutter.
  • All 4 existing anchor piles were able to be removed in one day. One new 19m anchor pile was drilled, driven home (5m into the seabed) and filled with sand to provide the initial fixing point for the new pontoon.

10 September 2015

  • The pontoon itself is made up of 6 individual concrete units, each weighing approximately 4.5 tonnes and completely filled and sealed with polystyrene as a bouncy agent, and which have been delivered to Silo Marina over the last few days.
  • They have been floated adjacent to a pier at Silo Marina and are being joined and pinned together with timber walers as we speak.

14 September 2015

  • Assembly of the 6 individual pontoon units continued at Silo Park (Wynyard Quarter). Tie bars and side walers were installed and the units stitched together.

15 September 2015

  • The assembled pontoon was floated around to Downtown Ferry Terminal and positioned against the south-western anchor pile constructed last week.
  • The south-west pile collar was secured and then the pontoon was gently manoeuvred and stabilised into position using survey equipment and the crane barge, whilst the north-western anchor pile was drilled/driven and the plastic pile sleeves were installed.
  • Also sitting on the pontoon awaiting installation is the high-level passenger boarding ramp which will afford greater flexibility for both passenger loading and vessel operations.

16 September 2015

  • Drilling and driving of the north-eastern anchor pile and north-eastern fender pile continued.
  • All 3 anchor pile and the fender pile were in-filled with sand to stabilise and add the required strength and weight to counter vessel impact. We began bollard fixing (for tying vessels to pontoon) by drilling through the 400mm deep timber walers.

17 September 2015

  • Many of the small fixture and fitting on the pontoon units took place as well fitting the plastic sleeve to the north-western fender pile, a few more bollards and preparation for landing the landside/pivot for the new gangway.

18 September 2015

  • The new pivot and base section has been transferred from the pontoon to the bottom of the existing steps in anticipation of fitting today and Monday. It has been specially designed to minimise any stress, loading and visual impact on the heritage steps.
  • This is an important step which will need attention and minute adjustments to the position to get it perfect for the gangway.

28 September 2015

  • The newly fabricated gangway was floated around Princes Wharf from Silo Park and craned into position on the pontoon and Quay Street promenade.
  • Total Marine carried out a precision job by resting the huge pivots onto the new abutment structure mounted to the stairs and positioning the opposite end onto the new pontoon.
  • The remaining south east anchor and fender piles were drilled/driven into place and the special PE sleeving (the black plastic sleeves) placed over the top and driven down into position. The piles were then filled with sand as their stabilising medium.
  • Next to be fitted was the additional raised loading deck and ramp which offers even greater flexibility for passengers, operators and vessels not only for current services but for future ones too.
  • The services ducting was installed underneath the gangway, installing of the new power boxes, light and CCTV poles, additional security fencing and operator layover facilities have all steadily progressed.

9 October 2015

  • The new pontoon and gangway are now 99% complete – with only minor works left to complete. As programmed, the major works were completed by Friday 2 October.
  • The electrical and services works are currently being undertaken by Allendale Electrical, Active Security and Thales (lighting, security and HOP card readers). Part of these works is to future-proof and isolate the once co-dependant electrical and fibre-optic services between Piers 3 and 4. This means that when Pier 3 is reconstructed in the future the works won't affect passengers or services at the newly constructed Pier 4. Once the electrical teams have completed their works the finishing touches to the pontoon and gangway will proceed. The new pier will then become operational.
  • Much improved LED Lighting and CCTCV coverage is also being installed for passenger safety and to monitor excessive vessel impacts on the new structure. In the future we will also be looking to install impact sensors onto the vertical fenders of all piers which will physically measure the impact and damage caused by vessels.

Forward plan

Fender on the pontoon itself will also start to appear as well as lighting/CCTV poles and other utility aspects.

Finishing works and utility connections to follow

We have allowed 3-5 weeks for the completion of the works, depending on the weather and tide conditions.

For more information

Contact Auckland Transport

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