Construction of the NZ Transport Agency's SH25 Kopu Bridge replacement project near Thames reached a new milestone today - exactly one year after the Prime Minister turned the first sod.
The final beam of the four steel bridge beams that connect the middle span of the new bridge was lifted into place today. These four beams will support the concrete bridge deck which will carry two-lane traffic and a shared pedestrian/cycle path.
The largest beams are 26m long, 1.6m deep and 0.45m wide. Several beams are bolted together to create each span between the bridge’s 15 concrete piers. Most spans between piers are 36.7m across but the navigation span that will provide access for boat traffic is 42.8m across.
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 delays for peak holiday traffic.
NZ Transport Agency Project Management Services Manager Bryce Carter said the project has made good progress over the past 12 months and remains on target for completion in mid 2012.
Ten of the bridge’s 15 concrete piers are now in various stages of construction. As the piers are completed, bridge beams will be progressively placed across each span, and reinforced concrete bridge decks constructed on top.
The contractor is currently building the bridge from a temporary working platform extending from the west bank of the Waihou River. This gives access to build the first 10 piers. Construction staff will place beams on the furthermost piers first (Piers 7 to 10) and begin constructing bridge decks on these spans from late August. Beam placement and deck construction will then move progressively back to the western bank.
As bridge construction on the furthermost spans is completed, the temporary working platform will be progressively dismantled and reassembled on the eastern bank to provide a new platform from which to build the five remaining piers and finish the bridge.