Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency says there are no immediate plans for vehicle restrictions on the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
If and when they are required at some time in the future, the restrictions will apply to heavy vehicles rather than general traffic, says Waka Kotahi General Manager Transport Services, Brett Gliddon.
Waka Kotahi remains committed to managing the main structure and extension clip-on bridges so that it continues to provide the connectivity needed to cater for all vehicles crossing the harbour.
“Our programme of ongoing monitoring, maintenance, upgrades and load management means the bridge is able to operate indefinitely as a key strategic asset in the Auckland network.”
“While careful and ongoing strategic management of the bridge will ensure its prolonged life as a critical link, there could be some loading restrictions in the future.”
“Any restrictions would be determined by the growth in additional heavy vehicle traffic using the bridge in the future. The current maintenance strategy and traffic demand assumes restrictions will be needed within the next 20 years.”
Mitigation could include limiting the lanes heavy vehicles can use, the number of heavy vehicles allowed on the bridge at any one time, or the time of day they are able to travel on the bridge.
Currently, buses use the clip on lanes, and all other overweight vehicles are required to use the truss bridge (or central lanes), unless there are specific reasons for using the clip-on lanes. However, no full HPMVs are allowed on the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
While the bridge is in good condition, it has been strengthened on several occasions in the past – most recently in 2010 when 900 tonnes of steel was added to strengthen the box girders, or clip ons, to their maximum capacity. Further strengthening of the bridge is no longer feasible.
Waka Kotahi has planned for the future by building the Western Ring Route (SH16 and SH18) to provide a resilient, reliable and efficient transport alternative to connect the growing number of people, goods and services moving between the North Shore, Auckland City and beyond.
Longer-term planning for Additional Waitematā Harbour Connections is also underway, but key decisions about funding, timing and scope still need to be made and construction is therefore not anticipated to start until at least the 2030s.
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