Construction milestone for bridge
‘‘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.