©Robin Capper

Delivered despite delays

A bridge replacement project in Auckland has finally been completed after a long delay due to Covid-19, but the pandemic did not affect the rapid supply of the required bridge bearings.

When the bearings needed for the project to replace a historically important pedestrian and cycle bridge in New Zealand’s biggest city were ordered from mageba in May 2020, the programme was accelerated to enable the bridge to be constructed as quickly as possible – perhaps considering the possible effects of the emerging coronavirus pandemic.

Within two weeks, the drawings had been produced and approved, and by the end of the year all bridge bearings had been manufactured, tested and delivered – despite the challenges affecting worldwide supply chains.

Then, in common with countless construction projects all around the world, a lengthy delay followed due to public safety measures. Thankfully, the bearings have now been installed and the bridge opened in August 2022, connecting central Auckland to its southern suburb of Mangere.

Bearing supply challenges

The RESTON®SPHERICAL bearings supplied support the ends of the bridge’s main span with a typical arrangement: One fixed (allowing no movements), one guided-sliding allowing only transverse movements, one guided-sliding allowing only longitudinal movements, and one free-sliding (allowing both transverse and longitudinal movements).

Due to the bridge’s special design, with a horizontal curve and with an arch at one side only, the two bearings at the inside of the curve (where there is no arch) required to be designed to resist uplift forces. Furthermore, one of the bridge bearings had to be delivered and installed as a free-sliding bearing to suit the structure’s temporary requirements during the construction stage, and then retrofitted with guide and tilt bars to act as a guided-sliding bearing in service. And as a final special feature, two of the bearings were fitted with load monitoring devices. 

A small number of LASTO®BLOCK elastomeric bearings were also supplied for the approach structures.

But the biggest challenge on this project was the very tight schedule to design, manufacture, test and deliver the bearings within a matter of months – and although the effort required was not needed in the end due to the Covid-19 delay, we are always happy to go the extra mile in facilitating our clients’ needs, and glad to show what we can do in meeting them – even during a pandemic.

Designer: Aurecon
Contractor: McConnell Dowel Constructions Ltd.
Owner: Waka Kotahi (New Zealand Transport Authority)

The Old Mangere Bridge on New Zealand’s north island connects central Auckland to the city’s southern suburb of Mangere

The bridge replacement project includes the installation of an attractive arch structure with mageba bearings supporting the ends of the main span

Design representation of the adaptable RESTON®SPHERICAL bearing at one corner of the main span – free-sliding during the construction stage and guided-sliding in service

Design representation of the permanently free-sliding RESTON®SPHERICAL bearing at one corner of the main span

Design representation of the permanently guided-sliding RESTON®SPHERICAL bearing at one corner of the main span

Design representation of the permanently fixed (non-sliding) RESTON®SPHERICAL bearing at one corner of the main span

Two of the RESTON®SPHERICAL bearings as designed and manufactured to support the bridge’s main span, with a load monitoring device highlighted

Testing of one of the spherical bearings to confirm its proper performance before shipping to site

Preparation of bearings for shipping to site in the suburbs of New Zealand’s biggest city

Installation of one end of the bridge’s arch, with the superstructure supported by a RESTON®SPHERICAL bearing at the base of the arch