Work to upgrade Happy Valley Bridge set to start

29 August 2019

Construction work to upgrade the Happy Valley Bridge in Owhiro Bay starts next week as part of the Wellington City Council’s latest stage in a progression of works designed to strengthen key transport routes and structures.

A photo of Happy Valley bridge.

Physical works are expected to take four months, ending early 2020 to allow for the Christmas shut-down period.

During the construction period, pedestrian access will be restricted and the road will be down to one lane, controlled by traffic signals 24/7. The traffic signals will operate on Happy Valley Road and Robertson Street. We will monitor their safety and effectiveness, and review if necessary.

The existing bridge was originally constructed in 1909. It was opened as a single lane bridge, then widened in 1935 with an additional lane and footpaths on each side.

“This work will bring the bridge up to current building codes, making it safer for vehicles and pedestrians,” says Jone Sumasafu, Wellington City Council Structures Project Engineer.

“The improvements to the Happy Valley Bridge are part of the Council’s ongoing programme of making sure key transport routes are safe and accessible for all who use them.”

Following a full condition assessment of the bridge structure in April 2018, it was recommended to replace the bridge deck, and close the footpath while the strengthening work is being completed. The project has a budget of $600k including professional fees, which covers:

  • The replacement of the steel beams and painting with an anti-corrosion system
  • Replacement of the concrete slab that makes up most of the bridge
  • Rebuilding the pedestrian footpath and handrail.

Crews will be working from 7am to 6pm Monday to Saturday, with no work on Sundays or public holidays – but the traffic signals and one lane restrictions will still be in place for the duration of the project.

“During the first week of work we will be setting up the site and to do this we’ll need to on occasion use stop go traffic management,” says Jone. “From Monday 9 September the site will be controlled by traffic signals. As with all roadworks we appreciate people’s patience and understanding, and we would ask that people take care through the work site, for their safety – and the safety of our crews.”

During construction there will be no restrictions on load weights allowed to use the bridge. 

Other info:

  • The original bridge dates back to 1909
  • It was widened in the late 1930s
  • It is the original half of the bridge that we are replacing. The other half is structurally sound and doesn’t need any work.
  • To replace the whole bridge would have cost in excess of $2 million.