Gi­ant tubes on way for Kaik­oura bridge

Kaikoura Star - - OUT & ABOUT - MATTHEWTSO

Four steel tubes, each the length of a city bus, will make their way across the Cook Strait and over the Lewis Pass as part of the Kaik­oura earthquake re­cov­ery.

The struc­tures are cas­ings built by Acme En­gi­neer­ing in Lower Hutt and will form the foun­da­tions of a new 144 me­tre bridge at Iron­gate on State High­way 1, north of Kaik­oura, which is due to be open by the end of the year.

Acme spe­cialises in fab­ri­cat­ing steel plate and is one of the few work­shops in the lower North Is­land ca­pa­ble of man­u­fac­tur­ing the cas­ings which mea­sure 12m long and 1.8m wide.

They are so large that each cas­ing has to be in­di­vid­u­ally de­liv­ered to the con­struc­tion site on the back of a 40 foot ar­tic­u­lated truck.

Acme man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Dun­can Fraser said it was nice to think they were part of the ef­fort to get Kaik­oura get back on it’s feet fol­low­ing the Novem­ber earthquake.

‘‘It’s great to be in­volved in some­thing that’s go­ing into im­por­tant in­fra­struc­ture down there. When I drive down there next year, I’ll be able to smile be­cause I’m driv­ing over a bit of Acme.’’

The cas­ings were cut from 200 mil­lime­tre steel plate, rolled into shape and welded to­gether from sev­eral sec­tions.

They would be ei­ther driven into the ground or placed in pre­pared holes and filled with re­in­forc­ing steel and con­crete to form a foun­da­tion for the new bridge to be built on.

The cas­ings would not be a vis­i­ble part of the bridge once they were in­stalled.

The New Zealand Trans­port Agency web­site said a 50 per­son crew was work­ing on the Iron­gate bridge which is north of Manga­maunu. They were half- way through ex­ca­vat­ing a bluff to road level and con­struc­tion was ready to start on the bridge col­umns and pier heads.

The bridge and other trans­port projects are be­ing over­seen by the North Can­ter­bury Trans­port In­fra­struc­ture Re­cov­ery (NCTIR) who are aim­ing to re­open road and rail net­works by the end of 2017.

State High­way 1 re­mains closed be­tween Pic­ton and Christchurch. In­land ac­cess to Kaik­oura was re­stored be­fore Christ­mas last year.

MATTHEW TSO/ STUFF

Acme En­gi­neer­ing man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Dun­can Fraser in­side one of the steel cas­ings des­tined for the Iron­gate bridge.

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