Report by Quality Roading and Services Wairoa
Quality Roading and Services Wairoa will make local transport history next week when the Waitahora Bridge is dismantled, strengthened, and rebuilt in just 68 hours.
The complex project involves the complete removal of the bridge’s deck and its rebuild.
The three-day dismantle and reconstruction is partly thanks to a 30 tonne crane that will lift the existing bridge deck off its abutments on the morning of Friday 11 May, says QRS construction manager Mike Wilson.
“Our client, Wairoa District Council, specified the bridge be closed for the minimum period of time to reduce disruption to the public and to keep construction costs down,” says Mr Wilson.
“QRS were up for the challenge and as a result were awarded the contract.”
Strengthening the 12-metre single span one lane bridge, located 32km up Tiniroto Rd from Frasertown, will ensure its fit for purpose for heavy vehicles now using the road.
The road will be closed 9am Friday 11 May to 5am Monday 14 May, to all traffic.
Once the bridge and 750m stretch of road are closed on Friday morning, a team of workers will begin to separate the bridge deck and two outside beams from the bridge abutments.
A CR Taylor crane will be manoeuvred into place and, with help from a hiab, it will lift the entire bridge deck carefully onto a truck facing Frasertown. The removed deck will be taken offsite for dismantling.
“Getting rid of the bridge deck in one hit, rather than dismantling it onsite, is the main reason we’ll be able to turn the project around so quickly,” says Mr Wilson.
“As soon as the deck’s gone, a well organised team of workers will start cleaning and painting, then welding stiffening plates onto the three centre beams.
Meanwhile, two new outside beams, supplied by Universal Engineering, will be welded and bolted into place. Other workers can then start building the new timber deck.
Mr Wilson says months of meticulous planning and preparation has gone into ensuring the strengthening and rebuild can happen quickly and safely.
A 16-strong team of scaffolders, painters, sandblasters, welders, and QRS staff, will work in shifts around the clock to get the work done. Powerful flood lights will be used so workers can continue through the night.
“When it comes to time constrained construction projects like this, strong relationships between the people working on the job site are of highest importance,” says Mr Wilson. “We all want the project finished safely and efficiently before the deadline.”
Signs about the road closure have been displayed in the area since March giving residents and road users plenty of time to prepare for the closure. Notices have also been in local papers.
Users of the road, including trucking companies and the local school bus provider, have been advised of the closure. Emergency services have also been alerted.
During the closure lengthy detours are available via Ruakituri and Ohuka Rd, or State Highway 2 to Gisborne.
31 October 2018
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