Fears nation's economy at risk due to Auckland Harbour Bridge transport disruption

Source: 1News

The chorus of complaint is getting louder over Auckland’s damaged Harbour Bridge with it closed from 9pm tonight until 5am Wednesday morning for repairs.

Freight companies say the flow-on effects are putting the nation’s economy at risk.

This comes as urgent work gets underway to repair the damaged piece so more lanes can be opened.

Steel fabricators who have been flat out ever since last week’s crash are preparing a replacement strut for the bridge.

There's been five days of major disruption which is taking a toll on movers of freight, goods and supplies around Auckland and beyond.

“This is a critical bit of infrastructure that’s failed and we can’t afford for Auckland to be cut in half effectively,” says Road Transport Forum Chief Executive Nick Leggett.

However, on the northern side of the bridge, local businesses are doing it tough.

“Because of Covid-19 some are on the brink already, so this is another kick in the guts for those businesses not being able to get customers through their front doors,” says Takapuna Beach Business Association's Terence Harpur.

The temporary repair will help those struggling with the delays.

The Transport Agency says if the repair’s not finished tonight, the southbound lanes will be closed overnight again tomorrow.

It’s the first time this kind of complex repair has been carried out here and extensive testing will be carried out before the centre lanes are reopened.

“The trucking industry is carrying day-to-day our economy on their back,” says Leggett.

“If you make that harder, if you slow that down, you cost money.”

No expense is being spared to fix the bridge.

“They’ve done double shifts and came back this morning,” says Pol.

“Basically they’ve put the whole thing together and it’s a rolling process where the welding’s being done, the final welds are being put.”