Earthquake Forces Change of Plans
Getting the first three steel girders for the new Kawarau Falls Bridge to Queenstown, from Napier, wasn’t an easy task, says NZ Transport Agency Senior Project Manager Phil Dowsett.
The girders, weighing more than 22 tonnes, were fabricated by Eastbridge, a firm which specialise in bridge steel fabrication.
The original plan was to transport the girders by rail but the 14 November, 2016 earthquake left the main rail trunk line impassable,
says Phil Dowsett.
The McConnell Dowell team needed to find another way to get the steel girders to Queenstown efficiently, to ensure the project stayed on track. They looked at sea freighting for part of the journey, but the length of the girders and bracing made this uneconomical. Trucking became the preferred option.
To minimise the risk of delays, McConnell Dowell constructed a new laydown area not far from site. This enabled the project to receive the girders in plenty of time.
Trucking proved to be the best way to get the steel on site quickly. In all, 40 truckloads of steel girders made the four-day trip between Napier and Queenstown - a distance of over 1,250 km.
A total of 880 tonnes of steel, in lengths of 16 and 6 metres, will be used in the bridge construction.
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