It is not rocket science : a sharper focus is required for New Zealand’s road bridges : a 60-credit Journalism project presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Journalism at Massey University, New Zealand
Bridge collapses due to age and external events occur all over the world, and New Zealand is no exception. Two recent bridge collapses in New Zealand have been attributed to adverse weather events. The ability of bridges to withstand environmental events is based on the quality of the bridge inspection regime and the resulting repairs and maintenance. This research aims to investigate the inspection regime of road bridges in New Zealand. Using case studies, it analyses how bridges are inspected, data is managed and the role of the asset manager in determining repair and maintenance programmes. Influencing factors including bridge age and the inspection practices and procedures of councils are compared to the bridge inspection guidelines published by the New Zealand Transport Agency. This paper will also investigate if New Zealand is ready to address the large number of bridges that are nearing the end of their useful life and will soon either require replacement or substantial remediation. The results show that local authorities are using the official guidelines as a guide rather than a minimum standard. The research and its findings are expected to allow for a better insight into decision making and priority setting for asset managers working in bridge management.