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The transporter carrying one of the 30 m beams – the rear unit is remote-controlled by a second driver to get the beams around tight corners – Photo courtesy of the NZTA

Matakohe Bridge beams make the long haul from Auckland

Four of the 30 concrete beams for Bridge No. 2 across the Matakohe River have been delivered, with the transporter making daily trips from Ranui in west Auckland to the construction site.

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The single-lane Matakohe Bridges (known as Hardies and Anderson), located on SH12 near Matakohe in Northland, are being replaced by two new two-lane bridges. The new 3 km road alignment will remove the tight curves and short straights and will improve safety on this section of SH12 which is the main route to Dargaville.

The journey of just over 140 km usually takes about two hours by car, but the transporter takes three-and-a-half hours to negotiate the route up SH1 and along SH12 to Matakohe. The transporter uses a remote-controlled rear unit, called a jinker, to manoeuvre the 30 m beams around tight corners. 
 
The transporter leaves Fulton Hogan’s fabrication site in Ranui in the early hours of the morning to beat Auckland’s peak traffic and arrives at Matakohe between 6am and midday, depending on traffic along the route.

Interest in the transporter

Deliveries of the beams are ramping up, from one beam a day delivered Monday to Friday prior to Labour Weekend, and from then on there will be two deliveries a day Monday to Saturday. 
 
“We know these deliveries are generating a lot of interest along the route. Unfortunately we can’t give definite arrival times or guarantee there will be a delivery every day,” says the NZ Transport Agency senior manager project delivery, Chris Hunt. 

“If people want to come out and see the transporter, they should find a safe place that doesn’t involve parking their vehicle and standing on the road shoulder where the transporter will come past. And keep a close eye on children so they don’t wander off. There are good safe viewing spots as the transporter passes through Paparoa and Maungaturoto on SH12,” says Mr Hunt.
 
“The team appreciate the local interest in the project and the consideration from motorists during this work, which so far has been performed without incident.”

Significant milestone

Once the transporter arrives, the beams are delivered through the site entrance on the east side of the Matakohe River. The transporter reverses down the haul road to the bridge site, where a large crane lifts the beams into place. 
 
Mr Hunt says motorists can expect short delays in the vicinity of Hardies Bridge while the transporter reverses off the state highway under traffic management by the site traffic crew and pilot vehicles.

Lifting the bridge beams into place is a significant milestone in the project, which is scheduled for completion in the middle of next year.

Watch a fly-through of the construction site here


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