New Bridge Strut Successfully Installed, Now Needs To Be Tensioned
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency says a new permanent strut to replace the one damaged two weeks ago has been successfully installed on the Auckland Harbour Bridge overnight.
“The new strut is now in place, which is great progress and a significant step forward in getting the bridge fully repaired and operational again,” says Waka Kotahi General Manager Transport Services, Brett Gliddon.
“Our team of engineers now has further work to do to tension the new strut. This key component in this process involves re-distributing the load-bearing capacity of the strut so the bridge’s weight distribution is returned to its pre-incident balance.”
“This will include constant monitoring to assess how the entire bridge is performing now the new strut is in place.”
The southbound clip on lanes that were closed overnight to safely allow the work to be carried out will reopen at 9:00AM. Once the overnight work has been completed, three lanes will be open in each direction.
However the bridge is still not at full capacity. Two lanes on the centre span remain closed.
There will be a further update later today about the timing of the next steps and the impact this will have on further lane closures in the coming days.
“That means people should continue to use public transport where they can, use the Western Ring Route instead of the Bridge and allow plenty of time for their journeys.”
“The Auckland Harbour Bridge is a key strategic asset and it’s critical we maintain its long term structural integrity by ensuring there is no lasting damage or new strain put on it.”
“We understand how disruptive and inconvenient it is for customers with the bridge operating at 75% capacity and we want to re-open all eight lanes as soon as possible.”
“As we have made clear, the installation of the new strut and rebalancing of the bridge’s loadbearing capacity is a complex operation.”
“Our bridge engineers, contractors and operations teams have worked extraordinarily hard over the past two weeks to come up with a solution, while also innovating and responding in real time to keep traffic moving safely around the city.”
“The freak event, where a 127 kph wind gust blew a truck over and damaged the bridge strut, was unprecedented in the bridge’s 61-year history and has resulted in a significant impact on its users and a large response effort.”
The New Zealand-made steel to build the new strut was sourced and fabricated, while teams of engineers worked behind the scenes to model in-depth calculations for redistributing the load-carrying capacity of the bridge once the new strut was in place.
“Waka Kotahi thanks our customers for their patience and understanding while we work as quickly and safely possible to make a permanent repair to the bridge that will open all eight lanes.”