Suva

Suva-Lami bridge restrictions to be lifted next week

Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) expect to complete the repair to Tamavua Bridge by Wednesday next week. FRA Acting Chief Executive Officer, Rory Garland says that FRA engineers have been working to finalise the designs for repair to the bridge. GARLAND: “This is being completed this morning and at the same time fabrication of the new […]

Salote Qalubau

May 27, 2016 10:58 am

Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) expect to complete the repair to Tamavua Bridge by Wednesday next week.

FRA Acting Chief Executive Officer, Rory Garland says that FRA engineers have been working to finalise the designs for repair to the bridge.

GARLAND: “This is being completed this morning and at the same time fabrication of the new section of beam will get underway. The complexity of the loading in this area of the bridge means that ‘off the shelf’ steel beam cannot be used.”

The contractor has been assembling the platform which will be slung under the bridge. This platform will be transported to the site today and installed overnight Friday. This will allow preparatory works to start tomorrow.

GARLAND: “Providing no further problems are identified once the engineers get close-up access to the structure, the repair should be completed by Wednesday next week. This will allow the second lane to be re-opened to traffic.”

A crack in the steel beam under the bridge was discovered on Wednesday this week. Following advice from the engineers, the FRA had no choice but to close one lane of the bridge and undertake the immediate repair.

Garland: “We have been advised that the cause of this crack was most likely due to recent excessive loads from overweight vehicles. This crack was not apparent in the original check on the structure in 2012. Nor was it there during a more recent check in May 2015.”

Mr Garland said other known defects on the bridge were not sufficiently serious to raise any immediate public safety concern.

Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) Acting Chief Executive Officer Rory Garland has confirmed that a design/repair solution for the Tamavua-I-Wai Bridge is underway following detailed investigation work carried out on the bridge by FRA engineers.

The Tamavua-i-wai bridge. (FRA)
The Tamavua-i-wai bridge. (FRA)

 GARLAND:“FRA’s engineers have now carried out detailed inspections and are working on the detailed planning for repairing the beam on Tamavua Bridge. The immediate objective is to re-open the closed lane on the bridge.”

It has been revealed that one of the main steel beams supporting the central section of Tamavua Bridge was discovered to have a serious crack. The damage was serious enough for FRA to be concerned for public safety and had no choice but to close one lane to traffic.

Mr Garland said that the engineers are proposing to use a new section of steel to reinforce the damaged section. The proposed repair will go through a stringent design process and will be thoroughly checked to ensure that it is strong enough.

GARLAND:“They will also need to build a scaffold structure under the bridge to provide access for the contractors to carry out the repair work.”

“This is all going to take a few days. We will be able to be more specific about traffic interruptions and timelines once the logistics are agreed with the contractor and the engineers”.

Fiji Roads Authority Rori Garland at a press conference yesterday. (Salote Qalubau/Newswire).
Fiji Roads Authority Rori Garland at a press conference yesterday. (Salote Qalubau/Newswire).

Mr Garland said that the deterioration of this bridge has been accelerated to the point that part of it has failed before FRA have managed to get to it on the programme.

GARLAND:”“While overloading continues FRA is going to have to increase the frequency of inspections to take this into account.”

“Trucks which we know to be sometimes over twice the weight they should be are doing untold damage to roads and bridges. The end result is that they will not last as long as they should and we will be forced to close bridges faster than we can rebuild or repair them.”

FRA has asked the maintenance contractor and police to assist with traffic control while the repair is being designed and carried out. During this time the traffic control teams have been asked to monitor the situation on the ground and adjust their activities as required to keep traffic moving as best as possible.

Members of the public are to avoid travelling through the area if at all possible. If it is essential, then try to travel outside peak times and allow extra time for your journey.

 

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