It’s all change for traffic flows

NOW things are getting serious …

Tonnes of steel reinforcing is in place, and the concrete pours have begun.

The first pieces of the new Bridgewater Bridge are, as they call it in the trade, out of the hole.

And you know it’s serious because traffic flows are about to change.

From next week, beginning Friday, May 26, how vehicles move around the northern approach to the Bridgewater Bridge is new.

Currently, Gunn Street runs off the same roundabout that splits traffic at the Midland Highway. Opposite is Boyer Road.

To accommodate construction of the northern abutment of the new bridge, access to Gunn Street is being moved further north on the Midland Highway.

Take a look at the photo, shot this past week and sent over by the good people at the Department of State Growth.

You can see the new Gunn Street connection at the bot- tom left-hand side. Note that it’s two-way traffic, but that traffic movements at the inter- section with the Midland Highway will be left in, and left out, only.

In other words, you’ll need to be driving towards the bridge to get on to Gunn, and you’ ll only be able to drive towards the bridge when you exit.

And that means to go the other way, north, on the Mid- land Highway you’ll have to first drive to that roundabout in the middle of the photo and hang a full 180.

Similarly, to get to Gunn Street when you’re heading north on the Midland, hang a full 180 on the East Derwent Highway, and there you go!

That existing bit of Gunn Street from the roundabout will disappear as the pile of rock right in the middle of the photo gets bigger and taller, shaped to become the approach to the new bridge itself.

For pedestrians, the over- pass across the Midland High- way near McDonalds will remain untouched. No need to head to the nearest round- about or think about 180s.

But back to construction…Take a closer look at the image and you’ll see, just to the left of that rock pile, a seriously large chunk of concrete with two massive cylindrical steel sections of reinforcing steel sticking out. That will become a pair of supporting piers at the northern end of the structure, among the first physical sections of the actual new bridge to appear.

Two rows of 21 piles in total, each pier 2.5m diameter, will be added over the next months.

And the handsome slabs of concrete over massive steel beams that’s next to the exist- ing bridge and heading south to join those huge barges on the other shore?

That’s just temporary, like scaffolding on a building, a working platform on which will squat the machinery brought in to form and pour concrete, and then lift and position premade segments of the new bridge.

For your information, just one of those oversized cranes you see on the Bridgewater site weighs the best part of 400 tonnes. Thus, all that effort for a temporary bridge.

Like I said: things are getting serious.