NZTA Acting State Highway Manager Karen Boyt said the NZTA considers this section of road essential to provide good access for traffic between the State Highway network and the Kopu industrial area, which is why the Agency agreed to include these works in the project for the new Kopu Bridge project.
The construction of this section of the works was deferred due to an appeal which delayed Thames Coromandel District Council completing the ‘alteration to designation’ process.
Ms Boyt says the ‘alteration to designation’ appeal was resolved in December 2012 and the NZTA arranged for the work to get underway as quickly as possible.
“The bridge contractor is currently setting up the work site to complete the Link Road and associated road works. The works are expected to take 8 weeks to complete, so we would look to have the Link Road open to traffic in April 2013,” she said.
Thames Coromandel District Council began the ‘alteration to designation’ process in 2009, receiving 12 submissions in response to its Notice of Requirement. They worked through those submissions and went to a formal Hearing in November 2011. The Hearing Commissioner then made the decision that the land could be a designated road.
In expectation of this decision, the NZTA obtained consent to pre-load the ground so that settlement would be finished, readying the ground for road construction in time for completion alongside the new Kopu Bridge project, with the aim of allowing the contractor to seamlessly and cost efficiently move on and complete this link road.
However, a local landowner then appealed the Commissioner’s decision. That appeal was not resolved until December 2012; therefore construction of the Link Road was delayed.
Construction of the $47m Kopu Bridge was brought forward in 2009 as part of the Government’s $500m Jobs and Growth Plan. It benefits the local tourism industry, providing easier access to local businesses, improved travel times and reduced fuel costs for emergency services, business operators, local residents and holiday travellers.
The project also included construction of 2.5km of new approach roads, including a new two-lane roundabout connecting the bridge with SH26 (Thames to Paeroa). The new bridge opened to traffic on December 12, 2011.
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