The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) says it is pleased that people took the opportunity to discuss the future of the old Kopu Bridge at a public meeting organised by the agency in Thames last night.
NZTA Regional Directory Harry Wilson said the meeting was a chance to let the community know the process that the NZTA has undertaken to date, including the Expressions of Interest (EOI) process, and the commissioning of the re-use cost report.
Mr Wilson said the meeting was the first exchange with the wider community about what they want to see happen to the bridge.
“Last night was about information sharing and discussion. Public feedback will be sought from the community in February/March next year. We’ll advertise widely about this,” he said.
The agency is currently working with two submitters who provided proposals to reuse the bridge in its current location, to see what can be done to progress their proposals.
Once all feedback is gathered, the NZTA is likely to make a final decision about the two options for the future of the old bridge in June 2013. “If the decision is deconstruction, further work will be undertaken on re-use of the bridge components – particularly the swing arm, because of its historic significance,” Mr Wilson said.
In the meantime, Mr Wilson reminded people that while the swing span of the old Kopu Bridge continues to be operated to enable boats to traverse the river channel, the bridge itself remains closed for access to the public. Mr Wilson particularly urged parents to ensure that their children understood that the old bridge was closed and that any access on foot or by bike was dangerous and illegal.
"With summer around the corner we understand that kids might be tempted to get onto the bridge, but it's not a safe place for them to be. The fences and warning signs are there for a reason - the last thing we want is a tragedy on the old bridge."
More information is available on the NZTA website: www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/kopubridge/future.html(external link)