Giant tubes on way for Kaikoura bridge
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.
Acme Engineering managing director Duncan Fraser inside one of the steel casings destined for the Irongate bridge.