Please see below official communication from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (Waka Kotahi) regarding permits being revoked for travel on Auckland Harbour Bridge. This is for vehicles over 60 tonne who have previously been permitted to travel at 10-20km per hour. This is a permanent revocation of permits.
The Crane Association of New Zealand is setting up a zoom call for members to join early next week, to enable direct Q&A with Waka Kotahi.
OFFICIAL COMMUNICATION REGARDING HARBOUR BRIDGE VEHICLE RESTRICTIONS
As part of regular monitoring and management of the Auckland Harbour Bridge to ensure that we protect the life of the structure, Waka Kotahi is advising that vehicles over 60 tonne that have previously been permitted with speed restrictions of 10km and 20km per hour are now required to use the alternate Western Ring Route and avoid the bridge.
Waka Kotahi is writing to all impacted permit holders to advise that their permits to cross the bridge are revoked and that they will be issued with new permits to exclusively use the Western Ring Route. There are currently around 750 permits of this kind.
The Western Ring Route has been designed for these types of vehicles to provide an alternate route to the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
There are no restrictions for normal non-permitted vehicles and heavy vehicles that operate at standard axle limits as well as busses who can continue to use the bridge without a permit. The Auckland Harbour Bridge is still safe to use, and these restrictions are designed to ensure the long-term operation of the structure.
Reviews of overweight vehicle data from the Weigh-in-Motion systems on the Northern Motorway have confirmed these types of overweight vehicles (vehicles over 60 tonne with speed restrictions of 10km and 20km per hour) have been crossing the bridge at speeds higher than the permitted allowance in the 50 km/hr to 70 km/hr range.
These increased speeds create higher impact load effects and the resulting increased risk of fatigue.
The Waka Kotahi long-term plan for the Auckland Harbour Bridge focuses on managing the main structure and extension clip-on bridges so that the bridge continues to provide the connectivity needed to cater for travel across the harbour. We are pleased that the regular monitoring processes we have in place are working and that we able to implement these restrictions at the appropriate time which means that there is no impact to general traffic using the bridge.
While the Auckland Harbour Bridge has been strengthened on several occasions in the past, further strengthening is no longer possible. This means that maintaining the structural integrity of the bridge now requires these restrictions.
Careful and ongoing strategic management of the bridge will ensure its prolonged life as a critical link, with these load restrictions.