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Auckland Harbour Bridge Pathway Structural Feasibility Study Summary

The Pathway Working Group (PWG) has proposed a shared footway/cycleway on the Auckland Harbour Bridge to be supported from the eastern side of the southbound extension bridge. NZTA commissioned Beca to assess the structural implications of the proposed Pathway on the bridge seeking to find a feasible solution that may be taken forward for design development. PWG members, Airey Consultants and Cope land Associates Architects designed the Pathway. Beca has assessed the load effects on the box girder extension bridge. This summary outlines the scope of the structural feasibility study and the key findings from the load assessment identifying further steps that will be necessary to develop the Pathway proposal. Section 1.0 describes the structural load assessment carried out in June 2011 using NZTA standards. The findings of the assessment were that unrestricted loading on the Pathway would exceed the load-carrying capacity of the bridge over a proposed 20 year operating period. Section 2.0 describes a pedestrian load management proposal by the Pathway Working Group that would allow use by limited numbers of pedestrians if NZTA permitted this departure from loading standards. Traffic loading from a September 2011 study and historic load data was used to predict future traffic load growth. The estimates of allowable pedestrian numbers were based upon future load growth predictions. Section 3.0 describes the sensitivity of the assessment to possible variations in loading and outlines further design development that will be required to take the project forward to preliminary design stage. A cross section of the proposed footway/cycleway is shown in Figure 1 below.

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Figure 1. Cross section of AHB extension bridge supporting the under-slung Pathway 1
3910504/ AHB Pathway Structural Feasibility Study Summary Rev 8 (April 2012)

1.0 Scope of Structural Assessment

The purpose of the assessment was to determine whether the box girder structures were capable of carrying local and global Pathway loads together with southbound traffic loading and to feedback findings to the Pathway Working Group so that a feasible solution satisfying NZTA's requirements could be identified. The structural load assessment was carried out to NZTA standards as covered by the NZTA Bridge Manual. Pathway dead loads were provided by Airey Consultants based on the concept design. Traffic loading for the assessment was taken from a bridge specific assessment live load for southbound traffic from 2005 increased by 10% to account for changes in heavy vehicle content and loading since then. The Assessment Loading was applied for the purposes of this study before the updated load study was available. Pedestrian live loads were derived from standardBD37/01 in accordance with the Bridge Manual as applicable to steel box girder bridges. Local cross girders supporting the Pathway were assessed for shear and bending effects using previously calculated girder load-carrying capacities. Global load effects were calculated and compared with the capacity of the bridge which was strengthened in 2010. The most critical areas of the bridge were typically those that had previously been strengthened as much as possible, and these were checked for any increase in load effects from the Pathway loads. NZTA requires at least 20 years of forward traffic load growth margin for the southbound extension bridge to allow unrestricted traffic movement. To investigate potential future traffic loading in 2031 a prediction of future traffic load growth was made by extrapolating forward from historical southbound traffic load data and reported in the Southbound Extension Bridge Traffic Load Study 2011. It was found that the 2031 loading corresponded to approximately 10% traffic load growth above the Assessment Loading. The full scope and findings of the assessment was reported in the AHB Pathway Concept Structural Assessment Technical Report. A summary is given below.

1.1 Structural Assessment Findings

A range of footway/cycleway options were assessed starting with the proposed 4m wide shared use footway!cycleway, followed by a similar facility reduced to 3.2m wide over the navigation span and adjacent spans, and a 2.5m wide option. The cross girders were assessed to have sufficient local capacity to support all options. Pier brackets which support the box girder at piers 4, 5 and 6 were found to require strengthening to cater for increased loadings from traffic and Pathway combined, The box girder bridge structure was found to be most critical in the mid-span region of the navigation span and also to have limited capacity at piers 1 and 2. Piers 3, 4, 5 and 6 were also found to have load effects that in some areas were anticipated to exceed capacities
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within the future 20 year period, however, it is recognised that these areas can be strengthened further to increase load-carrying capacity. For all options most areas of the bridge were found to have sufficient traffic load growth margins. However, the structural capacity of centre of the navigation span was the limiting factor and assessment findings described in this summary relate only to that critical area of the bridge. The 4.0m and 3.2m wide options were found not to satisfy assessment standards using full unrestricted pedestrian loading. The 2.5m wide option was assessed to have a traffic load growth margin representing approximately 10 years of estimated traffic load growth. This option, however, was deemed unacceptable by the Pathway Group on aesthetics and operational safety grounds. To summarise the assessment findings for an unrestricted access pathway: 4m wide pathway was found to have a shortfall in bridge capacity of approximately 8% of Assessment Loading and a shortfall of 18% for the anticipated traffic loads in 2031 3.2m wide pathway over spans 1,2 and 3 was found to have a shortfall in bridge capacity of approximately 1% of Assessment Loading and a shortfall of 11% for the anticipated traffic loads in 2031 2.5m wide pathway was found to comply with standards for the Assessment Loading but to have a shortfall in capacity of approximately 4% for the anticipated traffic loads in 2031

In conclusion the box girder structure was found to have insufficient capacity to carry the Assessment Loadings for unrestricted pedestrian use. In order to find an acceptable feasible solution that provided the required margin for NZTA's unrestricted future operation of the AHB a reduction in Pathway loading was found to be necessary.

2.0 Pathway Group Proposal for Pedestrian Load Management

The Pathway Working Group proposed a 4m wide Pathway with control of pedestrian loading on the bridge by managing the total number of people that can access the walkway/cycleway facility at any given time. The Pathway is proposed to have toll gates and security staff controlling entry and exit from the bridge. The toll gates would count the number of people on the Pathway and restrict access if the maximum number were reached. It is proposed that the facility would have rules, signage and closed circuit TV in place to ensure that users do not congregate in locations other than on proposed observation decks at piers. The Pathway would have tailsafe systems enabling it to be closed off completely at both ends in extreme weather events or if other issues arose.

3910504/ AHB Pathway Structural Feasibility Study Summary Rev 8 (April 2012)

Special events would be specifically catered for, for example, by arranging traffic lane closures on the bridge. An appropriate operation and management plan will be prepared by the Pathway Working Group to identify measures to enforce the proposed load limiting strategy. If a reduction in standard code-derived pedestrian loading were permitted by NZTA a range of people numbers allowed on the Pathway at anyone time was estimated, depending on the weight of the facility and other load effects yet to be assessed fully. Further pathway design development and detailed bridge assessment is necessary before the full extent of load effects can be accurately determined and so the numbers of allowable pedestrians on the bridge are an approximation at this stage. The estimated maximum number of people that could be allowed on a 4m wide Pathway at anyone time are based upon anticipated traffic loading predicted from future growth in heavy vehicle percentages. Due to the uncertainties in estimating these people numbers they are not a reliable basis for any economic feasibility of the Pathway. The estimated number of people that could be allowed to use the Pathway at anyone time based upon March 2011 traffic loading for the critical 3-4pm weekday period was found to be approximately 600. Based on anticipated 3-4pm weekday period traffic loading predicted from future growth in heavy vehicle percentages, the estimated number of people that could be allowed to use the Pathway at anyone time in 15 years time was found to be approximately 350. Care must be taken when using historic data to predict future traffic growth as changes in lane use, heavy vehicle regulations, economic growth and other extemal factors can cause an increase in loading in a short period of time. The maximum pedestrian numbers would need to be reduced in the future if traffic loading increased. Traffic loading would need to be monitored at regular intervals to make sure the bridge capacity was never exceeded. Measured traffic loading would be used to determine the reductions in numbers of pedestrians that may be necessary to allow unrestricted vehicular use of the bridge. In the following stages of the project optimisation of these numbers will be sought by investigating the potential for: A lighter or narrower Pathway Control limits on pedestrians or segregation of cyclists in the critical spans Adjustment of traffic loading in the future.

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3.0 Design Development and Assessment Sensitivity

The AHB Pathway proposal is at concept stage and the current feasibility study has been based upon load assessment using 2011 load data. Assumptions have been made regarding information that is not yet developed such as final Pathway weights, temperature and wind effects on the Pathway and box girder strengthening loads. The load growth margins for the Pathway were found to be small in the mid-span area of the navigation span and so the assessment is sensitive to possible variations in applied loading. The design of the under-slung Pathway and the required strengthening of the supporting structure will be developed as the project proceeds. More detailed assessment will also be carried out to evaluate the effects on individual structural elements within the box girders. At the feasibility stage a sensitivity analysis of the potential variability in loadings was carried out to assess the risks associated with variability of loadings. The sensitivity analysis included: Pathway dead load, surfacing, barriers and services weights increasing or decreasing Box girder strengthening extent increasing or decreasing Differential temperature effects subject to detailed analysis increasing Wind load effects yet to be included Traffic load growth increasing or decreasing

The key variables were assessed to be traffic and temperature load effects which have dominant impacts on the bridge. The final maximum people numbers estimated above cannot be determined until further assessment of these effects is available including the results of wind tunnel tests. At this feasibility stage normal load factors have been applied in the assessment. In addition to its proposal to control pedestrian live load the Pathway Working Group has also proposed to more accurately determine the weight of the final pathway by weighing units and components and thus apply a reduced dead load factor. The departure from the design standards for reductions in pedestrian loading would need to be approved by NZTA. The Pathway Group has also suggested that it would like to consider the possibility of a reduction in load factors using probabilistic analysis of loading combinations applying alternative approaches such as embodied in European standard EN 1990. This could be investigated as the project is progressed beyond feasibility. The further development of designs and the appraisal of alternative design criteria will form part of the next stages of the project.

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3.1 The Next Steps:.

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NZTA. approval of departures from NZ standards Risk assessment Design standards and design brief to be a~reed Preliminary design of pathway Wind tunnel testing of effects on AHB Concept design of strengthening Detailed assessment of box girder structure Cost estimates to be developed Detail design of pathway and bridge strengthening

A number of further issues are to be addressed for the project such as resource consents, funding, operational safety, maintenance and management arrangements that have not been included in this study. This summary outlines the findings of the technical feasibility study of the structural effects of the proposed pathway on the existing extension bridge.

3910504/ AHB Pathway Structural Feasibility Study Summary Rev 8 (April 2012)

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Auckland Harbour Bridge Pathway (Skypath)

The Auckland Harbour Bridge (AHB) "clip-ons" recently underwent significant strengthening and the $86 million project was successfully completed in 2010. Providing that freight loadings are appropriately managed on the AHB, as the city grows, the bridge has many decades of useful life as a strategic infrastructure asset for Auckland and the nation. In addition to being one of the busiest stretches of State Highway 1 the AHB also accommodates critical city infrastructure such as water supply, telecommunications, electricity and natural gas. The next Harbour Crossing is forecast to be required around 2030, subject to the actual level of freight loading growth. At this time freight and through traffic would transfer to the additional (new) harbour crossing while the existing AHB would revert to local commuter and public transport (bus) traffic. The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has worked collaboratively with the Pathway Trust, Auckland Transport, Architects, Engineers and the Auckland Council to investigate and agree a feasible engineering solution for a cycling and walking structure to be attached to the existing Harbour Bridge. This has been achieved (see attached) and funded by the NZTA during 2011 and 2012. The proposed structure needs to be subjected to wind tunnel testing and this will be undertaken in 2013. The project is being lead by the Pathway Trust and is now at a point where the Auckland Council is being requested to partly fund (and partly underwrite) the project. NZTA regards this project as a community facility, to be paid for largely by an admission charge from the users. The pathway would be allowed to be attached to the Harbour Bridge structure through a license to occupy at peppercorn rental. There is minor strengthening work still to complete on the AHB to support Skypath. Engineers are working to agree this detail and cost. Depending on the $ amount required (currently in the range of $1-3 million) the NZTA may be able to contribute towards these costs. The structures required at the north and south ends of the bridge to connect from the ground to the Skypath are additional to the existing Skypath concept design. The NZTA has no alternative plans for a walking and cycling facility across the AHB. For more information Stephen Town Regional Director Auckland/Northland on the Auckland Harbour Bridge: Steve Mutton Regional Asset Manager Auckland/Northland