FRANZ JOSEF, NEW ZEALAND
On March 26th, a major storm washed away a key highway bridge spanning the Waiho River at Franz Josef. The storm killed one person and caused millions of dollars in damage. A recap on the spectacular wipe out of the bridge:
Fast forward to this time, less than a month later, the same bridge has been put back to business and is open to traffic. Since the 13th of April, the major crossing has reopened to traffic and with that, a sigh of relief for businesses in and around the Franz Josef Glacier region, which had suffered an average of $3 million in losses daily. Many businesses in the area had considered closing down, especially as the region attracts up to 1.5 million tourists a year. Cars lined up on both ends at noon local time on the 13th as the multiple span bridge, featuring the same truss design as the one destroyed- the Bailey Truss- was reopened to traffic.
But in 18 days time?
While most crossings wiped out need 1-3 years of planning and reconstruction, this bridge rebuild was done thanks to planning and efforts by many key agencies, including the New Zealand army and its bridge planners. How this was done can be seen in the film below:
For a 300 meter long structure, it’s a feat that is for the books for the region, New Zealand and in the world of bridge engineering, one that will rake up some awards in the long term. 🙂