Nan Tien Temple, a Buddhist complex located on the outskirts of Wollongong, is one of the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. Translated as ‘Southern Heaven Temple’ the Chinese-styled palace fuses modern architectural techniques with landscaped gardens, attracting devotees and tourists from around the world.

Opposite the temple, sits the Nan Tien Institute. Separated by the busy Princes Highway, the International Buddhist Association of Australia had a plan to link these two entities with a 200-metre pedestrian footbridge to create an iconic learning precinct.

A $18 million landmark project, Donnelley Civil were engaged to lay foundations for the bridge that would span the motorway. Requiring significant detailed excavation and drilling on steep and uneven ground while working around existing infrastructure and other disciplines on site, Donnelley Civil got to work.

With a team of experts on the job, the unstable embankment with a rock shelf needed addressing. Backfilled ground and natural rock required specialist equipment, and expert operators. Creating a plan that created depth and diameter to the site, drilling was able to proceed effectively through the loose rock. With a focus on safety, the team methodically completed bulk and detail excavation with no time lost to incidents of any kind.

Delivered on time, on budget and with no reworks required, the project management company extended Donnelley Civil’s involvement, citing expertise with heavy plant equipment despite the tricky site.

The Nan Tien Bridge was opened on the 28th of July 2018 by the NSW Premier. Nan Tien Temple Reverend Zhi Ren Shih told the Illawarra Mercury that the bridge was the realisation of 17 years of imagination and design.

“The bridge symbolises the exchange of culture between East and West, integration of tradition and modernity, joint ownership of the Sangha and the laity, and equal emphasis on wisdom and practice,” Reverend Zhi Ren Shih said.