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Auckland harbour bridge pathway innovates with America's Cup technology

News International-French

18 Apr 2014

SkyPath is capitalising on New Zealand’s marine expertise by proposing the use of composite materials and manufacturing technology developed for the America’s Cup. SkyPath would be constructed by the Auckland yacht builders who built the Team NZ and Oracle America’s Cup catamarans. 

Over the past decades, the two box girder lanes of the Auckland Harbour Bridge have been the object of significant structural issues, strenghtening work and on-going maintenance. 

The new pathway, shared by walkers and cyclists, nestles under the overhang of the south-bound box-girder bridge without impinging on the existing bridge traffic. The 4 metre wide structure is supported from the box girder of the main bridge by a triangulated structural net that wraps around it, holding in place expanded safety mesh. The face of the existing box girder provides significant weather protection, and blocks through wind. The safety mesh provides transparency, enclosure, and wind protection whilst maintaining natural ventilation.

As the stiffness critical structure requires reduces weight and low maintenance, composites materials will be used. Gurit will provide the Auckland yacht builders who built the Tean NZ and Oracle America's Cup catamarans, with a practical solution utilising benefits of composite construction.

According to Gurit's and Core Builders' proposal, Skypath requires over 4000m² of sandwich panel decking, come 250 10-metre lon E-glass and carbon reinforced ribs.

A preliminary analysis has led to a conceptual laminate based upon a Gurit GPET 100 FR foam core with a quadriaxial E-glass skins for the path way and beams. The finite elements analysis was beneficial in determining the most efficient use of carbon and E-glass uni-directionals in the rib and frame specifications.

This innovation has been recognised by NZ Innovation Council with SkyPath being a finalist at the annual NZ Innovators Awards being held last October.

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