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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

Fabricators are continuing to make good progress on manufacturing the new permanent strut for Auckland’s Harbour Bridge.

The new 22.7 metre strut which is being fabricated in Whangarei is being coated and painted today. Tomorrow and Friday the focus will turn to bolting the components together before it is readied for transport to Auckland on Saturday morning.

All going well and dependent on good weather conditions the new strut will then be installed on Saturday night.

All southbound lanes on the bridge will be closed overnight from 9pm Saturday evening and reopen midmorning on Sunday. The Esmonde Road and Onewa Road southbound SH1 on-ramps will be closed. Two northbound lanes over the bridge will remain open.

One southbound lane and one northbound lane over the bridge will also close from 5pm on Saturday to prepare the site for the overnight work. Congestion is expected so people need to plan ahead and use the Western Ring Route as an alternative to SH1 and the bridge.

If the weather is unsettled this weekend, the installation and southbound closure is expected to take place the following weekend.

“We’re giving people plenty of warning that they won’t be able to travel to the city centre over the bridge on Saturday night. We understand this will cause some inconvenience, but we need to close lanes to allow our engineers to safely carry out their work,” says Waka Kotahi General Manager Transport Services, Brett Gliddon.

“If all goes well with the installation on Saturday night, further closures will be needed on other nights next week to carry out the all-important tensioning work.”

“This involves jacking the new strut to the required level so that it is carrying load again, redistributing the load throughout the entire bridge structure. Only then can all the lanes be safely reopened.”

“We are confident the work will be completed as planned on Saturday night, however due to the complex nature of the work and the fact that we are working next to live motorway traffic, there is a possibility that we may have to complete the work on the following weekend.”

“We need to carry this work out during a weekend because the work will take longer than 12 hours, which would impact on commuter travel over the bridge if lanes need to remain closed.”

Auckland’s weather improved for today’s morning commuters with maximum wind gusts on the Auckland Harbour Bridge of about 25 kph and three lanes open in each direction.

For traffic from the North Shore, there were queues on the motorway back to Esmonde Road and sometimes as far as Tristram Avenue, but traffic was flowing over the bridge.

Yesterday morning the wind gusted to 98kph, closing all lanes on the bridge for just over an hour. Bridge operators will continue to monitor the wind and weather, but Metservice is forecasting calmer conditions for the next few days.

“We understand the disruption closing the bridge causes, and these decisions are not taken lightly. Safety is Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s top priority, and we will not take any chances with the bridge due to the current damage to the superstructure,” says Waka Kotahi General Manager Transport Services, Brett Gliddon.

Waka Kotahi advice remains for people to leave their cars at home and use public transport, plan ahead, allow extra time and travel outside peak time if possible. Drivers are advised to check our online apps to see if using the Western Ring Route on SH16 and SH18 is quicker than travelling over the bridge.

The new strut for the Auckland Harbour Bridge taking shape in a Whangarei workshop. It will be completed and transported by road to Auckland on Saturday.

See the latest video on the strut fabrication below:

Our New Zealand manufactured steel sheets have now been transformed into the three replacement parts needed for the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Work is progressing quickly and the strut is expected to be installed overnight on Saturday.

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