The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) is offering people a firsthand look at construction of the Waikato River bridge on the Ngaruawahia section of the Waikato Expressway as it unfolds over the next six months.
Hourly time lapse photographs, streaming live to the NZTA website, are capturing construction of the 140 metre bridge as it takes shape over the Waikato River. The bridge is one of seven on the Ngaruawahia section of the Waikato Expressway, one of New Zealand’s seven Roads of National Significance.
NZTA Waikato Expressway Principal Project Manager Richard Young says the time lapse camera gives people a unique opportunity to see exactly what goes into engineering a structure like the river bridge.
The time lapse images can be viewed at: www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/waikato-expressway/(external link). Mr Young says people visiting the website would currently see concrete being poured for the river bridge's distinctive 'V' piers.
The bridge beams are expected to arrive at the site, on the southern side of the river bank, in March, ready for launching across the river.
"A condition of the consent process is that no piers be placed in the river during the construction or at the completion of the bridge. The conditions make this a particularly impressive process to watch as it unfolds," Mr Young says.
"The beams will be slowly pushed from the southern bank, out over the river, to meet the piers on the northern side."
Approximately 2250 tonnes of concrete and 700 tonnes of structural steel will be used in building the bridge.
Mr Young said contractor Fletcher Construction was making steady progress on the 12.4km section which has a value of $250 million. The entire section is tracking to be completed ahead of schedule next year.
"It’s a challenging programme. They have already completed one of seven bridges on the section.
Five other bridges now have their beams in place ready for construction of the bridge decks," Mr Young says.
People are also being encouraged to use the public viewing area on the Ngaruawahia section over the holiday period.
The NZTA has partnered with the Te Awa Great New Zealand River Ride to establish a public viewing area on the walkway, beside the bridge site.
The walkway is sign posted off Horotiu Bridge Road.
View the Waikato River Bridge poster [PDF, 1005 KB] (PDF, 1.00 MB).