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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is reminding motorists that good weather permitting, there will be reduced capacity on the Auckland Harbour Bridge on Saturday night so work can start on replacing a temporary bridge strut with a permanent solution.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is reminding motorists that good weather permitting, there will be reduced capacity on the Auckland Harbour Bridge on Saturday night so work can start on replacing a temporary bridge strut with a permanent solution.

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.

The lane closures will allow engineers to install a new strut as a permanent replacement for the one damaged when a 127 kph wind gust blew a truck over on 18 September.

The forecast is for good weather on Saturday but if the weather isn’t suitable the closures and the installation will not go ahead.

“The freak event that 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,” says Waka Kotahi General Manager Transport Services, Brett Gliddon.

The new strut gets a final coat of paint in Whangārei before being delivered for installation on the Auckland Harbour Bridge on Saturday night.

“On Saturday night the engineers plan to replace the temporary strut which was installed last week. The permanent strut will be 22.7 metres long and will reach from the bridge overarch to the bridge deck. It’s been fabricated from NZ-made steel in Whangārei as a like-for-like replacement.”

“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.”

“This re-tensioning will need to take place on another night (to be confirmed) that will involve the 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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