The final centre span beam has been installed today (Friday 26 October) on the Atiamuri Bridge Replacement project. The milestone marks the end of a two-month process involving a total of 12 'stringer beams' lifted individually by crane onto the new bridge supports.
“Progress on this project since it began back in November last year has been excellent,” says projects service manager, Bryce Carter. “We are well on track for opening the new bridge to traffic in April next year.”
The $24M Atiamuri Bridge Replacement project involves the construction of a new bridge about 75 metres upstream of the current bridge on State Highway 1 (SH1), South Waikato. SH1 is a significant freight route and the new bridge will ensure route security and improve safety, reliability and access along this section of highway. “Completion of the new bridge will also bring regional and national benefits while stimulating economic growth in this area and New Zealand-wide.”
The recently installed beams range in length from 23 to 25 metres with a maximum weight for the heaviest beams reaching 30 tonne each. “Eight of the beams were transported one at a time by truck across the existing bridge and lifted by crane down on the site beneath the new bridge,” says Mr Carter.
“However, four of the longest beams were lifted off the truck while it was parked on the existing bridge. This meant we had to close the bridge for a few minutes during each lift. We appreciate motorists’ patience while these tricky transfers were carried out.”
Mr Carter says the bulk of the earthworks around the project site are now completed with just some final tidying up still to be done. “We have also carried out extensive planting with eco-sourced native plants and seed mixes which have been applied to the slope faces either side of, under and next to the new bridge.”
The next stage of the project will see the sub-soil drains for the new road’s pavement foundation installed, with the pavement works starting in the next week. Progress on this project can be viewed using three construction ‘web-cameras’, each of which has a timelapse feature showing progress since construction began. The webcams can be viewed online along with project updates, photos and other information at www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/atiamuri-bridge(external link).