May Street Overbridge, Wellington

Client: Transit

Consultant: Opus International Consultants

Contractor: BBR Contech

Not many of us would relish the prospect of spending hours in the middle of a busy urban motorway, but for the Contech team it’s all in a day’s work – or at least it was in a recent project in central Wellington.

After about 30 years of service, the May Street overbridge (one of several bridges spanning the motorway near the entrance to the city) required a new set of bearings. Contech was commissioned by Transit New Zealand and consultant Opus to undertake the work, which involved lifting the bridge by about 30 millimetres (a major challenge in itself!), removing the collapsed bearings and installing three new ones.

The client imposed two additional requirements: to monitor the bridge’s movement at all times; and to ensure vehicles could continue to use it during the two months while work was underway – particularly during the morning and evening rush hours.

This required a well designed traffic control strategy as well as extremely efficient work scheduling and project management. Says Reuben Pohika, Transit’s Regional Highways Superintendent: “It would be great if Transit was able to have other contracts that have gone as well as this one.”

Today, the May Street bridge is ready to handle another 30 years of vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Recognition for Contech’s work came from Markus Ruddock, Opus’s Senior Design Engineer (Bridges): “Well done for getting the motorway diversion out in time. The team at Opus all think Contech has done a great job.”