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NZTA urges motorists to avoid damaged Auckland Harbour Bridge as repairs continue

NZTA Waka Kotahi is urging people to work from home or use public transport to ease congestion on the Auckland Harbour Bridge. 

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A truck blew over in strong winds damaging the bridge. Source: 1 NEWS

Four lanes of the bridge remain closed after two trucks were hit by high winds while crossing the harbour Friday morning. 

Waka Kotahi senior journey manager Neil Walker said there would be “significant knock on effects across the transport network”.

“We ask people to consider working from home if possible or using public transport instead of taking the car,” he said.

“If you must travel, avoid peak times in the morning and evening and allow extra time for your journey. 

“Heavy congestion and delays are expected on both sides of the bridge as well as other state highways and local roads.” 

Traffic on the Western Ring Route is expected to increase as motorists take alternative routes. 

Traffic had been heavy over the weekend, Walker said.

“A temporary fix to re-open lanes may be possible in a few days but a permanent repair is weeks away. 

“We’re working on both and working as quickly as we can.”

Meanwhile, the Northern Busway will be operating and buses will use the clip-on lanes. Walker said there was no risk to the structural integrity or overall safety of the bridge, and all clip-on lanes were safe to use.

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Damaged Harbour Bridge causes traffic headache for Auckland motorists

However, he said buses will be delayed because of the queues of cars waiting to cross the bridge. 

He said passengers should plan ahead and allow extra time for their journey.

On average, more than 170,000 vehicles cross the Auckland Harbour Bridge on weekdays.

Temporary and permanent fixes underway, says NZTA

Walker said Aucklanders can expect the bridge will be closed for “a number of weeks”. 

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Friday traffic is snarled around the Auckland motorway system as authorities try to remove one of the trucks. Source: 1 NEWS

“Repair work may not be visible on the bridge but a team of nine structural engineers is working on the complex task of removing and replacing the strut that weighs about 4 tonnes and is 22.7 metres long. 

“That includes modelling how to re-balance its load-bearing function so that it’s safe to incrementally re-open lanes on the centre span with a temporary fix in place,” he said.

He said the strut was important to the structure of the bridge because it helped support its weight. 

One end of the damaged strut has been bolted back onto the bridge temporarily, Walker said.