Reports of nose-to-tail crashes and slow driving incidents on the State Highway 25 Kopu Bridge near Thames has prompted a warning to drivers from the NZ Transport Agency.
NZTA Project Management Services Manager Bryce Carter has asked drivers crossing the Kopu Bridge to please resist the temptation to ‘rubber-neck’ at construction activity on the new two-lane Kopu Bridge.
“We are aware of some nose-to-tail crashes on the bridge caused by drivers not watching the vehicle in front of them. Some drivers are also travelling too slowly across the bridge, and even stopping in the bays, to get a longer view of the construction site and then are not clear of the bridge before the opposing traffic gets the green light.”
“With increased traffic flows at Labour Weekend, any crash has the potential to cause long delays for holiday traffic,” Mr Carter said.
The project reached a new milestone this month, with the first pour of concrete forming the bridge deck taking place. This pour was on the span between piers 9 and 10.
As new bridge piers are completed, steel beams are laid between the piers, and then preparations for deck construction is started. The Contractor prepares the formwork or mouldings that will contain the wet concrete, constructs steel reinforcing, then pours concrete for each section of deck.
The Kopu Bridge project also includes 2.5km of new approach roads and a new two-lane roundabout linking State Highway 25 with State Highway 26 (Ngati Maru Highway).
Roundabout construction is under way and will be largely completed this summer, allowing the Contractor the final 2011/12 summer construction season to complete 2.5km of new approach roads. Traffic will not use the full roundabout until the project is completed.
Construction of the $47m two-lane Kopu Bridge was brought forward last year as part of the Government’s $500m Jobs and Growth Plan. It replaces the existing one-lane bridge build in 1928. Once completed, the new bridge will reduce traveling times and reduce costs for all bridge users.