Friday, May 2, 2014

FSO - Construction

Whangarei needed another river crossing to alleviate rush hour traffic problems.   It was interesting watching it take shape.  In the beginning there were just a few heavy machines.  The bridge connects the industrial side of town with the airport.  Because the bridge is downstream from the marina, a lifting mechanism was needed to allow the bridge to be lifted when boats need to pass under it.  We heard there would be fishhook shaped counterweights, the idea of British architect, Martin Knightt.   Mr Knight said that when he was looking into aspects of this place that were really important, the relationship with the coast and the river and the cultural history, the fishhook motif came up quite frequently. 


The bridge crept out from either side of the river.  This is the side from which I watched progress.


I kept trying to imagine what it was going to look like when the final link was installed.



It's called Te Matau ā Pohe, or "The Fishhook of Pohe", and once you see it, it's easy to understand how it got its name.  Wiremu Pohe is said to be the Maori ancestor who took care of the first European settlers to make Whangarei their home.   It was officially open on 27 July, 2013. It is not raised between 7.15 am to 8.45 am and 4 pm to 5.30 pm.  At other times skippers of boats over 6.5 metres in height phone or radio a request for the bridge to be raised.


It has not been all plain sailing.  The warmth of summer had an impact - the steel bascule expands more than expected once it gets over 26C, meaning the bridge could jam if the temperature is too high.  For a while the District Council would not lift the bridge if the air temperature (measured at the nearby Whangarei Airport) reached 26C, meaning boaties had to contact the bridge control if they wanted to negotiate a suitable time to enter or leave the harbour.  

It's the first bridge of its type that's ever been built so I guess teething problems are to be expected.  I think they have sorted the problem now.  Or maybe we will have to wait till next summer to know for sure.

The Friday My Town Shoot Out topic this week is show us construction and the architecture in your town. Maybe even a comparison from the old to the new. Or, give us the before and after.  The contributions from the rest of the team will be here.  Why not pop over and have a look.  There are some terrific photographers amongst us and it's always interesting to see how things are in other parts of the world.  

17 comments:

  1. It is a stunning bridge.
    It looks good and sculpting the counter weight probably added little to the cost.

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  2. very nice pics Pauline! amazing what we humans can do.

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  3. Looks interesting.... Is it on the road to Onerahi?

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  4. Wow! It's amazing what can be done.

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  5. An amazing piece of engineering Pauline!

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  6. I haven't seen the like, but it looks nifty. We live near the historic Rideau Canal and there are many locks and a swing bridge or two.

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  7. Amazing to see a new and modern bridge. We are overpopulating the globe and have to be able to get from here to there in a moments notice. Your countryside there is most lovely.

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  8. That's a fascinating bridge! And yes, when it's the first of its kind, a few problems may need to be worked out.

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  9. A super series of photos over a period of time. Well done. Interesting bridge . It wouldn't do too well here in Qld heat. (which seems to have disappeared this weekend)

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  10. What a great post. Never seen a bridge like this. Not sure how it works, but it looks amazing.

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  11. Wow!
    I'm impressed that such a structure was built with an eye towards beauty and cultural history. We've just lost our blue bridge near the Inner Harbour. It's being replaced (with much fighting, arguing and angry letters-to-the-editor) by a utilitarian, ugly structure.

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  12. Wow, I think this bridge is stunningly beautiful.

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  13. You can never have too many bridges, right? They're a pretty difficult engineering problem.
    I wanted to tell you that Barry's wife, Linda, responded to your comment on the FSO "bell" post last week. :-)

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  14. Beautiful work Pauline. I like the thought and insight that went into the architect's plan.

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  15. Gosh. I didn't know that when we went over it. You'd think that something like the coefficient of expansion of steel would have been taken into account adequately in the planning.

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