The new bridge strut that will repair the Auckland Harbour Bridge is being transported by truck to Auckland today ahead of its planned installation later tonight.
The Whangarei fabricators who made the strut will deliver it in two pieces, each weighing several tonnes. The pieces will be transported on the 160km journey from Whangarei on an articulated flat-bed truck.
The 22.7 metres long permanent strut will reach from the bridge overarch to the bridge deck. It’s a permanent replacement for the one damaged when a 127 kph wind gust blew a truck over on 18 September.
The strut has been fabricated from NZ-made steel in Whangārei as a like-for-like replacement and has been painted to match the rest of the bridge superstructure.
There will be reduced capacity on the bridge to allow the work to be carried out.
The southbound and northbound lanes in the bridge centre span will close at 5:00PM to allow the temporary strut to be removed. At 9:00PM the two southbound lanes on the clip on will be closed until mid-morning Sunday.
That means there will be no southbound lanes open on the bridge. The southbound motorway onramps at Esmonde Road and Onewa Road will also close from 8:30PM.
Two northbound lanes on the bridge clip on will remain open throughout the night. Southbound motorists are advised to use the Western Ring Route on SH16 and SH18 and allow extra time for their journey.
The forecast is for good weather overnight but if the weather isn’t suitable the closures and the installation will not go ahead.
“Once the new strut is in place engineers will still need to jack up the bridge deck and connect the new strut as a load-bearing support for the bridge. This is by far the most complex part of the process because the bridge needs to be constantly monitored to see how it’s responding to the new weight distribution” says Waka Kotahi General Manager Transport Services, Brett Gliddon.
“This re-tensioning will need to take place, possibly over several nights, which will involve all southbound lanes over the harbour bridge closing from 9:00PM to 5:00AM. If there is bad weather or high winds, the bridge work and southbound closure will happen on the first available fine night.”
“We are confident we have left nothing to chance, checking and re-checking the weight-bearing calculations and then getting our detailed plan peer reviewed by bridge experts overseas. However there are still many things that all need to go right on the night.”
“We know the reduced capacity has been disruptive and we’re grateful for the patience and support we’ve had as we work as quickly and safely as possible to make a permanent repair to the bridge that will open all eight lanes,” says Brett Gliddon.
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