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Bridge 18 Tonne Load Restriction Causes Transportation Issues

As the lane restriction and 18-tonne load restriction on the Tamavua-i-Wai Bridge continues for another month, businesses have started feeling the impact of the restrictions. The weight restrictions have made
04 Jun 2016 09:55
Bridge 18 Tonne Load Restriction Causes Transportation Issues
Repair works on Tamavua-i-wai bridge continues despite constrain of space under the bridge damaged beam. Photo: RONALD KUMAR.

As the lane restriction and 18-tonne load restriction on the Tamavua-i-Wai Bridge continues for another month, businesses have started feeling the impact of the restrictions.

The weight restrictions have made it difficult for larger trucks to cross the bridge.

The fact there is only one bridge connecting Suva through the Queen’s Highway to Lami and the West has left businesses with the option of going around the country.

In fact, this has shown the vulnerability of the capital’s connection with the rest of the cities and towns in Viti Levu and might be something to look at in the future.

Metromix Concrete Fiji, loacated in Wailada, Lami, has come out saying it could not cross with their mixer trucks even with a cubic metre of concrete as their trucks already weighed 18 tonnes.

General manager, Sonni Dutt, said one of their customers in Nausori required a concrete pump to be used on site and they could not send the truck through the shorter route.

As a result, they had to send a truck around Viti Levu to reach Nausori 10 hours later, something which would have otherwise taken less than an hour.

Not only the time, but Mr Dutt revealed they accumulated $5000 as cost for 21 tonnes of cement to be transported.

Going through Tamavua-i-Wai bridge would have meant only $630 cost for the 21 tonnes of cement transportation.

Mr Dutt said the cost would be passed on to customers ultimately as a result of the rising cost of transporting their cement.

He said it would then become difficult to sell the cement because of the high cost.

“Some people will stage their projects because they can’t afford variations and at the end of the day, the cement factory is on the other side of the bridge,” Mr Dutt said.

Cement manufacturers, Pacific Cement Limited and Tengy Cement in Lami are also believed to be facing similar constraints.

Now what would also be interesting to see is how the exporters are able to get their goods to the Port of Suva and how importers get the goods out of Suva.

 

Roads Authority

Fiji Roads Authority this week decided keep in place the lane restriction and 18 tonne load limit on Tamavua-i-Wai Bridge for four more weeks.

The decision was reached following detailed examination by Engineers after the discovery of a crack in one of the structural beams.

While the authority saw no further critical issues, the recommendation to FRA was that further strengthening work is required elsewhere in the bridge structure.

FRA has already indicated the Tamavua-i-Wai Bridge was built in the 1960’s and was designed for use by vehicles within the current legal load limits.

FRA interpreted the regulations as restricting vehicles to 21.4 tonnes for a 10 wheeler, 26.8 tonnes for a 12 wheeler, and that no vehicle of any configuration should exceed 32 tonnes gross weight.

But it has established that information demonstrates these load limits are being exceeded, with vehicles now crossing this bridge at twice the legal weight.

The restriction on load limit has been put in place as a precautionary measure for public safety reasons and will mean workers can safely get on with the job under the bridge.

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