Bridge repairs due to steel corrosion and ‘fatigue’

Published: Tue 2 May 2017 01:46 PM
02nd May 2017
Bridge repairs due to steel corrosion and ‘fatigue’
Parallel repairs underway on the Labasa Bridge are due to a fatigued deck and steel corrosion in its columns, said Fulton Hogan Hiways (FHH) Special Projects Manager, Eddie de Vries.
FHH is contracted by Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) to implement its maintenance programme to provide road access in the Central, Northern and Eastern divisions.
Mr de Vries said work on the two major issues would be completed by this month (May).
“The concrete columns supporting the bridge are bursting apart. The reinforcing steel in the concrete is corroding, making the concrete spall leaving a weakened column,” he said.
“The deck is showing serious signs of fatigue (cracks). The repair involves placing an additional concrete layer onto the existing bridge. This deck will be ‘tied’ to the existing deck by means of 1,450 steel bars immersed in the new concrete.
“The repairs proposed for the columns involve bolting steel supports to the columns, sharing the support of the bridge to the pile cap. Initially, we were going to add support to four columns. This was increased to eight columns and we are now looking at doing all 12 columns,” he added.
Labasa is the biggest town in Vanua Levu and in the most populated province of Macuata that has a population of 72,000 people. The bridge, located by the town, is the key link to the Labasa Sugar Mill.
Metal fatigue can be caused by either corrosion or traffic overload. According to Mr de Vries, work on the column supports is done from pontoons floating on the water below and would not affect traffic. However, the same could not be said about work on the deck.
“To prepare the deck (we) remove the existing asphalt layer and roughen up the deck. Most of this will be done between peak traffic or at night and closing off one lane at a time,” he concluded.
The Fiji Roads Authority estimates the cost of repair work to be around $600,000.

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