Stretching 11 metres into the sky, people won’t have to look hard to see the new structure appearing on the horizon over the next few months, as part of the Old Māngere Bridge Replacement project.
Construction has now started on the arch, which is the main architectural feature of the new walking and cycling link over the Manukau Harbour connecting Auckland’s southern and north western suburbs.
“Building over water is always a challenge, but this project is made more complex by the addition of the steel central deck and arch,” says Mark Kinvig, Waka Kotahi National Manager Infrastructure Delivery.
“A team of highly skilled engineers, designers, truck and crane operators as well as riggers and ground staff are needed to help guide the six pieces which make up the arch and central deck into place.”
The arch and central deck were fabricated in Napier in 21 smaller pieces before being transported up to the project yard. Once there, the team have spent months welding the pieces together to create three large deck sections each weighing approximately 110 tonnes and three arch sections weighing 28 tonnes each.
“The components will be taken by a heavy lift truck and trailer onto the temporary staging, where two cranes will work in tandem to lift each section separately into place. The whole process will take several months to complete,” says Mark Kinvig.
In addition to the temporary supports already in place to support the bridge deck, two more will be built between the two large piers to help carry the weight of the arch as the pieces are slowly linked together. (See graphic below)
“Months of planning has gone into this part of the project and we are grateful to have some of Auckland’s sharpest minds working on it. Strict health and safety protocols are in place as we’re not only working across both land and sea, but under high voltage transmission lines. There’s also the added complexity of ensuring we do all of this while meeting COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.”
The architecturally designed bridge will not only provide a way for people to cross the harbour on foot or by bike, but it’s hoped will become a destination in itself.
At 8-metres wide, it has space for two fishing bays and bench seating for people to sit and enjoy the harbour views. The new bridge will also provide increased clearance underneath and space between the piers for waka, canoes and small watercraft to travel to and from the Māngere Inlet.”
“When completed, the bridge will become an iconic feature of Auckland’s skyline and I know those working on this project are really proud of constructing a place for the community to connect.”
Despite disruptions due to COVID-19, progress on the new bridge is tracking well and is expected to open in late 2022.
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