The first bridge beam manufactured for the new Kopu Bridge near Thames rolled out of a factory in Auckland yesterday, Wednesday 12 May.
D & H Steel Construction Ltd won the contract to supply 2300 lineal metres of custom-welded steel bridge beams for the new two-lane Kopu Bridge. Beams are typically 26m long, 1.6m deep and 0.45m wide and weigh approximately 10 tonnes.
Steel beams will be produced over a nine month period and trucked to Kopu to be fitted progressively between the new bridge piers. Four beams will be fitted between each set of piers to support the bridge deck, which will carry two lanes of traffic and a combined cycle/walkway.
Deputy Prime Minister Hon Bill English was on hand to see the first beam produced and celebrate the official opening of D & H Steel’s new automated production facility in Auckland.
Construction of the $47m Kopu Bridge was brought forward last year as part of the Government’s $500m Jobs and Growth Plan. Once completed, it will improve traffic capacity along SH25 to and from the Coromandel Peninsula, and significantly reduce peak holiday traffic delays.
NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) Regional Director Harry Wilson said construction of the bridge structure will progress steadily, but construction on the new approach roads must wait until the soft subsoils settle to the point where they are strong enough to carry the weight of the new roads. Rock embankments are being constructed in stages along the approach roads. The weight of these embankments will compress the subsoils prior to construction.
Mr Wilson said the SH25 Kopu Bridge replacement project remains on track for completion in mid-2012.