New strengthened bridges for SH2

Video: Waka Kotahi Transport Agency.

A key bridge strengthening project on State Highway 2 through the Waioeka Gorge has been completed, months ahead of schedule and under budget, says the Waka Kotahi Transport Agency.

This work was part of a wider Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency programme to bring six bridges located on SH2, between Gisborne and Ōpōtiki, up to High Productivity Motor Vehicle standard by increasing the load bearing capacity of the bridges to ensure more efficient freight movements.

Two of the six bridges, Omoko and Aro Aro, were strengthened in 2021 and 2019/20 respectively, with the four remaining bridges – Owhiritoa Stream Bridge, Omaukora Bridge, Gibson Bridge and Sandys Bridge – strengthened between January and April this year.

Senior project manager Richard Bayley says the strengthening of these bridges along this strategic route will support regional economic growth and enhance transport connections.

“This is a heavily used route by transport and freight vehicles. The increased loading capacity of the bridges now means fewer trips need to be made as well as there being lower operating costs and reduced emissions.”

Carbon fibre technology was used as part of the strengthening process with patches being placed on the underside of each bridge to provide the bridge with enough strength to handle the extra weight of heavier vehicles.

“This technology is very cost-effective and means work can be completed faster and across several bridges at once. The carbon fibre could only be applied while there was zero movement to the bridge. This took careful planning and communication with our freight partners throughout the project.

“We also recognise our contractor’s efforts to finish months ahead of schedule with significant cost savings.”

The agency has a vision of zero deaths and serious injuries on New Zealand roads. Learn more about:




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