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Tamavua-i-Wai bridge opens to legal load limits

The Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) has confirmed that the Tamavua-i-wai Bridge has been opened to legal load limits today. This, however, is subject to a restriction on the maximum weight of any group of axles of 16,000kg. In a statement, FRA Chief Executive Officer Mr John Hutchinson said that despite the bridge re-opening as normal, […]

Nacanieli Tuilevuka

July 6, 2016 2:02 pm

The Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) has confirmed that the Tamavua-i-wai Bridge has been opened to legal load limits today.

This, however, is subject to a restriction on the maximum weight of any group of axles of 16,000kg.

In a statement, FRA Chief Executive Officer Mr John Hutchinson said that despite the bridge re-opening as normal, heavy vehicle operators should understand the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) of their vehicles and keep within the legal load limits.

Fiji Roads Authority newly appointed Chief Executive Officer, Mr John Hutchinson (DEPTFO)
Fiji Roads Authority Chief Executive Officer, Mr John Hutchinson (DEPTFO)

The LTA will continue their monitoring of vehicle weights using the Bridge.

HUTCHINSON: “In the past few weeks, strengthening work has been taking place on Tamavua-i-wai Bridge with the aim of reopening to legal loads.”

“The engineer Erasito Beca and contractor Fulton Hogan Civil have made good progress on the bridge strengthening work to the point where FRA can re-open the bridge to legal limits.”

Mr Hutchinson said FRA trusts the community and industry will respect and support them by keeping within the legal load limits for the Tamavua-i-wai and all other Bridges within Fiji.

Mr Hutchinson also said that FRA is taking into consideration the needs of the industry and the special conditions for approval of vehicles exceeding the allowable weights in the land transport vehicle registration and construction regulations.

He says for these heavy vehicles, companies can apply to Fiji Roads Authority stating the make, model and registration number of the vehicle, the individual axle weights from front to back, and the centre to centre spacing of the axles from front to back.

Motorists are advised that work is still taking place underneath the bridge and are requested to observe the speed limit of 30km when crossing over as this is still an active site.

The 18-tonne load restriction imposed on the Tamavua-i-Wai bridge has been extended to Monday the 11th of July 2016.

Motorist travelling to Tamavua-i-wai bridge are encouraged to travel at 30km per hour. (FRA)
Motorists travelling through Walu-Bay approaching the Tamavua-i-Wai bridge. (FRA)

In a statement, the Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) said that the contractor Fulton Hogan Civil is continuing with strengthening works on the bridge.

The FRA wishes to advise haulage companies that special conditions for approval will be considered for vehicles weighing more than 18 tonnes. Approvals will be granted following the individual analyses of vehicles by FRA engineers.

FRA said the government has allocated $4.5 million in the 2016/2017 budget for the urgent repair of 9 high priority bridges.

FRA: “The allocated figure of $4.5 million will see a total of 9 high priority bridges at critical points on the network undergoing urgent repairs similar to what is currently being done on Tamavua-i-Wai bridge.”

Most of these bridges are on Kings and Queens Road plus three in Vanua Levu and one in Taveuni.

As repairs on the Tamavua Bridge get underway the Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) has announced a load restriction for the bridge.

Following the early morning closure, the work platform is now in place and the contractor and engineers have access to the underside of the bridge to carry out further inspections and repairs. (FRA)
(FRA)

FRA Acting Chief Executive Officer Rory Garland said following talks with engineers they have decided to impose an 18-tonne weight limit on all vehicles using the Tamavua-i-Wai bridge.

GARLAND: “The main reason for this precautionary measure is that when one part of a bridge gets overstressed the loads get transferred to other parts of the structure and these ‘knock on’ effects need to be assessed.”

Mr. Garland said that the vast majority of cars, buses and light goods vehicles using the Queens Road will not be affected by the load restriction.

This he said will apply to both lanes of the bridge until the engineers have carried out checks and are satisfied that the other beams are safe for heavier vehicles.

However, the heaviest trucks will need to lighten their loads to be allowed onto the bridge.

The FRA has asked the LTA to assist with ensuring that this is enforced for everyone’s safety.

Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) contractors Fulton Hogan Highways Civil have started repairs on the damaged section of the Tamavua-i-Wai bridge after the installation of a work platform this morning.

Following the early morning closure, the work platform is now in place and the contractor and engineers have access to the underside of the bridge to carry out further inspections and repairs. (FRA)
Following the early morning closure, the work platform is now in place and the contractor and engineers have access to the underside of the bridge to carry out further inspections and repairs. (FRA)

FRA’s Acting Chief Executive Officer Rory Garland told Newswire that the work platform was transported to the site and installed early this morning when the bridge was closed from 2am to 3am.

GARLAND: “Yesterday afternoon and last night the contractor assembled the inspection platform and than between 2 o’clock to 3 o’clock this morning they used the crain to lift the inspection platform into position. The end of the crain is hanging underneath the bridge and providing access to the engineers to get down there to  and to inspect and check the upholding post. So they can actually get into fully physical work, it’s actually pulling and doing some repairing work.”

Mr. Garland said there are no plans to build a new Tamavua-i-Wai bridge.

GARLAND: “This bridge is nearly the end of it’s time, it’s 40-years-old and most of these bridges are designed for a 50-year lifespan. Right now our priority is to repair the broken beam and get the bridge to allow traffic as quickly as possible. The first priority is to get two lanes of traffic and beyond we will look at getting a replacement to the bridge, that might involve in putting in a temporary bailey bridge for a while, this will be a bridge that will be on our replacement program.”

Mr. Garland said the cause of damage is most likely due to excessive loads from overloaded vehicles.

GARLAND:  “The damage of the bridge has occurred because of the far over loading of the trucks, so we are working closely with the LTA in trying to lay a heavy fine to those truck drivers that drives with over loaded stuff.”

The repair works is expected to be completed by next week Wednesday.

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