Con­struc­tion mile­stone for bridge

Upper Hutt Leader - - FRONT PAGE - COLIN WIL­LIAMS

‘‘The steel spans, which weigh 32 tonnes each, were lifted into place by crane.’’

Con­struc­tion of the new ve­hi­cle bridge at Birchville has ad­vanced a sig­nif­i­cant step with the in­stal­la­tion of two 42-me­tre steel spans.

The sin­gle-lane bridge over the Akatarawa River is needed be­cause Oc­to­ber 2015 flood wa­ters se­verely dam­aged the con­crete pier of the pre­vi­ous 1950s struc­ture, caus­ing it to buckle and slump in the mid­dle.

The bridge’s im­me­di­ate clo­sure left the 70-house Bridge Rd com­mu­nity iso­lated and with­out ve­hi­cle ac­cess to Up­per Hutt for sev­eral weeks ahead of the city coun­cil de­vel­op­ing a road to To­tara Park on an ex­ist­ing Hutt River walk­ing trail.

The full cost of the bridge re­place­ment project, in­clud­ing the $660,000 tem­po­rary road and other work, is $3.68 mil­lion with two-thirds funded through New Zealand Trans­port Agency sub­si­dies.

The steel spans which weigh 32 tonnes each were lifted into place by crane from the Akatarawa Rd side of the site over sev­eral days.

The beams, which ar­rived in three parts by road from Napier, were as­sem­bled into one piece by the project’s con­trac­tors, Brian Perry Civil.

The work meant traf­fic be­tween Gem­stone Dr and Gille­spies Rd was re­duced to one stop-go lane.

Af­ter the 77-tonne crane lifted the first span onto the bridge abut­ments in the evening of Jan­uary 26 the rest of the job took longer than ex­pected.

The sec­ond beam, which was set to go in the next morn­ing, was de­layed three days be­cause of tech­ni­cal prob­lems with the crane.

The in­stal­la­tion of the mas­sive bridge spans was a ma­jor mile­stone in the project, city coun­cil op­er­a­tions direc­tor Lach­lan Wal­lach said.

The new bridge will, weather per­mit­ting, open in late Fe­bru­ary.

As well as traf­fic it will carry sewer, wa­ter, gas and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion ser­vices.

These will be brought over from a tem­po­rary bridge which was craned into place, along­side the dam­aged orig­i­nal, more than 10 months ago.

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