Traffic on the Auckland Harbour Bridge is making slow progress this morning as delays continue, after a truck toppled and damaged the superstructure yesterday.
Only the clip on lanes on either side of the bridge are open and engineers are assessing a buckled steel upright pillar today.
Earlier this morning, southbound traffic was barely reaching 10 kilometres an hour on the approach to the bridge, as four lanes merge into two.
Morning #AklTraffic. Clip-on lanes remain OPEN in each direction over the Auckland Harbour Bridge (AHB). Allow additional travel time if you do plan on travelling via the bridge this weekend. Consider using the Western Ring Route (WRR): SH18, SH16 & SH20. #WeekendTraffic. ^MF pic.twitter.com/T7NuD2NRHF— Waka Kotahi NZTA Auckland & Northland (@WakaKotahiAkNth) September 18, 2020
NZTA Waka Kotahi has asked motorists to consider using the Western Ring Route instead of the bridge, or to allow extra time to cross the bridge.
Engineers have warned there will be a significant reduction to the capacity of the bridge for anywhere between several days and several weeks, while the damage is repaired.
Huge traffic jams built up through parts of the city yesterday after the accident, just after 11am, when two trucks travelling on the bridge were toppled by a massive gust of wind.
The main damage was caused by a southbound shipping container truck that was blown sideways into one of the bridge's upright structural beams.
The truck was able to carry on, but part of the bridge had been sheared off, and "a permanent fix will be a long term process", said NZTA Waka Kotahi's Neil Walker.
MetService seeks clues on wind
MetService is collecting data on yesterday's wind gust on the Auckland Harbour Bridge that caused a truck to roll over, damaging the superstructure.
Communications meteorologist Lewis Ferris said the wind suddenly doubled in strength to 127 km/h, before dropping right off and turning around to the south-west.
He hopes further investigations will provide some useful clues about the weather event.
"One in 10-year event like this will be catalogued and it will be something that we will look into and see what we can take from it; what we can learn from it; see what information we had available beforehand to better be able to forecast things in the future."