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Stronger bridges on SH2 through Waioeka Gorge


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

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 (HPMV) 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.

Waka Kotahi 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,” says Mr Bayley.

Waka Kotahi thanks the heavy haulage industry for their cooperation throughout the project.

Watch a video about the works: