A new strut has been successfully installed and re-tensioned on the Auckland Harbour Bridge, the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) announced on Sunday.
Last month, a truck toppled by 127k/ph winds caused significant damage to the bridge's structure, leading to major traffic disruptions. The bridge is the primary infrastructure connecting Auckland's CBD and southern suburbs to the North Shore, and is the gateway to New Zealand's northern regions.
The replacement of the damaged rod was completed overnight on Saturday, NZTA confirmed. Three northbound lanes and three southbound lanes will open later on Sunday morning - meaning the bridge is still operating at 75 percent capacity.
"The new strut is now in place and it’s been tensioned up which is great progress and a significant step forward in getting the bridge operational again," says Brett Gliddon, Waka Kotahi's general manager of transport services.
"We've made good progress but we need to monitor the strut in the days ahead to see how the entire bridge is performing with the new piece in place... We're not going to take any risks and we won't open all eight lanes until we are fully confident that it's safe to do so."
All going well, there will be no further overnight closures and the agency may be able to re-open all eight lanes later in the week, Gliddon said.
Until more information is provided, motorists are still advised to opt for public transport or the Western Ring Route - via state highways 16 and 18 - instead of the Harbour Bridge, and allow plenty of time for their journeys.
The replacement of the strut comes just over two weeks after the damage was sustained, despite NZTA's initial estimate that the repair could take five weeks to complete.
Gliddon held a press conference to update the media on the strut's replacement and installment at 11am on Sunday.
Watch the briefing above.