Giant beams for underbridge lifted into position

A still, calm day was high on the wishlist of HEB Construction workers as they lifted 33-tonne beams into position on the Pickering Road underbridge yesterday.

Under a blue sky they individually lowered six 22-metre-long beams into place with the help of a 200-tonne crane. The 2.3 metre-wide beams were pre-cast in Tauranga and trucked on to the site.

The Pickering Rd underbridge is one of eight bridges to be built as part of the $230 million Cambridge section of the Waikato Expressway.

The single span bridge will carry the expressway across Pickering Rd. The structure is due to be completed next month.

NZ Transport Agency project manager Raj Rajagopal said work on the Cambridge section was focused on pavement work and building structures.

Rajagopal said the Pickering Rd structure was a "standard bridge" with four lanes of traffic. "Laying the beams is a delicate process because you need to get the alignment exactly right. The people [on the ground] are in constant communication with the crane operator because you have to make sure the beams are the correct space apart. A lot of skill is required."

Waikato Times