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New phase of bridge construction set to start this week

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Construction of the new two-lane Kopu Bridge near Thames is entering a new phase this week.

Work is about to begin on building a temporary working platform extending from the eastern bank of the Waihou River. The remaining five bridge piers will be built from this platform. The first 10 piers were built from a temporary work platform extending from the western bank of the Waihou River.

NZ Transport Agency Project Services Manager Bryce Carter said construction of the eastern platform was beginning earlier than originally expected.

“Construction of the bridge is progressing well but, even if the bridge is completed early, this won’t mean the whole project can be completed early. The critical factor is achieving our soil settlement targets on the bridge approaches, because we cannot build the approach roads until those targets are met. The project remains on target for completion in mid 2012.”

Construction activity from the western platform is now focused on placing the final steel beams and completing the concrete decks.

This month, the contractor will begin removing sections of the western platform that are no longer needed, and will use these to begin building the eastern platform.
At the other end of the project site, the new SH25/26 roundabout is taking shape. Traffic is now flowing on one section of the new roundabout, but access is currently one-way. Traffic will be moved around the site as the contractor digs out a section of the old road to complete the roundabout.

Mr Carter said drivers could expect some inconvenience at the roundabout site through to December.

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 580m-long bridge will reduce traveling times and reduce costs for all bridge users.

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