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Waiting for a disaster to happen on Auckland’s most famous bridge travelled by 170,000 cars every day caused complete traffic gridlock after one truck that was gushed by wind followed by another whoosh of winds caused another truck to crash both into Aukland’s Harbour Bridge at around 11 am on Friday morning has caused some damage.
The wind speed at the time was 60kph and went as high as 127kph.
There wasn’t a Plan B from Auckland’s City to make a second crossing in case a matter like this would happen.
Auckland System Manager Andrea Williamson described how it happened in the moment of reckless, disrespectful winds, “A medium-sized truck travelling in lane three northbound was hit by a strong gust of wind and blown across two lanes. It toppled over the moveable lane barrier and is now stuck on the barrier. The driver was not injured.”
“At the same time, a southbound truck carrying a shipping container was blown sideways and hit the bridge superstructure. The truck righted itself and carried on.”
Auckland Business Chamber CEO, Michael Barnett says, “It’s been clear for years that Auckland desperately needs a second harbour crossing, but instead of getting on with it we’ve taken an attitude of waiting to ‘cross that bridge’ until the worst happens,” he says.
“Auckland’s recovery from lockdown and getting the city and our economy moving again is now obstructed with major disruptions to commerce, mobility, productivity and commuters, with a request to mitigate the bumper to bumper traffic by staying home – again – because our bridge is broken,” he said.
The bridges overarch was damaged, with a steel upright sheared off. The four lanes in the bridge centre span will remain closed entirely until the damaged upright is assessed and repaired.
The damage of the bridge could take weeks, if not months, says NZTA (New Zealand Transport Agency), causing the traffic grid to sit in ques for hours each day going to and from work as 170,000 vehicles travel the bridge each day.
“We have ambitions to be a world-class city with world-class infrastructure and services. Instead, the city’s resilience and recovery from COVID is being set back with one incident spotlighting the fragility and vulnerability of one of our most vital transport lifelines.”
“This cannot happen again. We need the commitment to building that second crossing instead of a continuing talkfest with no dates, no signed off plans and no tenders.”
Alternatives from the Auckland Harbour Bridge is travelling to the Western Ring Route (SH16 and SH18) and around the harbour to avoid using SH1 and the bridge.
Image courtesy: shutterstock.com
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