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Jobs growing as new bridge takes shape

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The Kopu Bridge replacement project is already providing an economic boost for the region, with nearly 40 people now directly employed on the project as the new 578 metre long structure begins to take shape over the Waihou River.

The Kopu Bridge replacement project is already providing an economic boost for the region, with nearly 40 people now directly employed on the project as the new 578 metre long structure begins to take shape over the Waihou River.

Construction on the $47 million project was officially launched by Prime Minister John Key in July last year and most full-time staff from HEB Construction are now based permanently on the site. 

The project has also provided jobs for local workers who are providing a range of services including fencing and driving. As construction continues over the next two years, it is anticipated that at least 10 more people will be employed full-time on site and another 100 downstream, supplying materials and providing supporting services.

NZ Transport Agency Regional Director Harry Wilson, who visited the site today (February 10) said almost all materials for the project would be New Zealand-sourced.

“Originally, construction of the bridge was not scheduled to start until 2011 but the project was brought forward as part of the Government’s $500 million Jobs and Growth Plan. While the project will have long-term benefits for region, there are benefits to be gained during the construction phase and we want to maximise those,” Mr Wilson said.

Locally-sourced products include crushed aggregate from Leach’s Quarry near Kopu which has been used as embankment filling.  To date, around 185,000 tonnes of fill has been used on the site. Approximately 50,000 tonnes will also be required for stage two and three of the embankment filling.

Complex monitoring equipment installed before Christmas is constantly measuring settlement and ground water pressure on the site to ensure the swampy ground can handle the new loading without collapsing. Because the ground near the river is so soft, it will need time to settle and strengthen as the project progresses through different stages.

Constant monitoring has shown that, to date, average settlement is “as expected,” Mr Wilson said.  “That’s good news as it means we’re still on track to have the new bridge completed by mid-2012.”

Before Christmas, work began on building a platform from the western bank out into the river. This western platform is expected to be completed by June this year and will support the piling rig and all heavy plant and machinery needed for construction of the piers, bridge beams and deck. Once complete, another platform will be built out from the eastern bank.

In the meantime, the permanent pile casings for pier one will soon be driven to their final expected depth of 36 metres.  Work has already begun on the permanent pile cases for pier two and reinforcing steel cages for the piles are being assembled.

For more information please contact:

Janette Wise
Regional Communications Advisor
T    64 7 958 7238
M 027 440 1226 
janette.wise@nzta.govt.nz

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