The skyline on Auckland's Southern Motorway (State Highway 1) has changed dramatically after a successful operation last night to lift the first section of a new footbridge into place south of the Newmarket Viaduct.
A 43 metre-long section of the Dilworth Footbridge, which weighs 83 tonnes, was hoisted 35 metres into the air by two cranes and lowered in to position across the motorway early this morning. The final section, spanning the adjacent railway line, will be installed in the next two weeks.
The NZTA’s acting State Highways Manager for Auckland and Northland, Steve Mutton, thanked drivers for their support while the motorway had to be closed and traffic diverted during the lifting operation.
“This is the best way we can say thank you - the successful completion of the first part of an operation to deliver a new footbridge that will be safer for those people using the motorway below it, and for those using the footbridge to cross the motorway,” Mr Mutton says. “It is higher, reducing the risk of bridge strike from vehicles over the legal height limit, and unlike the existing footbridge, does not need to be supported by a pier located between the motorway lanes.”
Mr Mutton says the sweeping arch on the footbridge will make a dramatic entry to central Auckland for those driving north.
“Its shape reflects the neighbouring Mts Hobson and Eden, with the valley of Newmarket in
between. The shape can also be for the community to interpret as they wish; it could be an ocean
wave, a tree bough or a sine wave”.
The arch on the second section over the railway line will be located underneath the walking and cycling deck.
Mr Mutton also thanked the alliance of contractors on the Newmarket Viaduct Replacement Project for the successful operation.
“Their skills and their efforts to keep any disruption on the Southern Motorway to a minimum reflects the innovation and commitment that is a feature of this project,” he says.
Mr Mutton says it is planned to have the new footbridge opened by the end of the month. The existing footbridge will then be removed.
This work is an important part of the completion of the Newmarket Viaduct Replacement Project undertaken by the NGA Newmarket Alliance of NZTA with its partners, Leighton Contractors, Fulton Hogan, VSL, URS, Beca, Boffa Miskell and Tonkin & Taylor. The four year project is due to be completed in December 2012.
For more information visit www.nzta.govt.nz/newmarketconnection(external link)