The ownership of the old single-lane Kopu Bridge near Thames has been passed to the Kopu Bridge and Community Trust. After several years of consultation and negotiations, the NZ Transport Agency signed an agreement in March 2018 for ownership of the heritage-listed bridge to be handed to the trust.
The central swing-span bridge across the Waihou River opened in 1928 and has been idle since the opening of the new two-lane Kopu Bridge in December 2011. As the bridge was no longer part of the national highway network the Transport Agency could no longer fund any future maintenance or upgrades.
The deal is subject to the Transport Agency receiving yearly reports for five years from the trust on the operation of the bridge. The trust will also provide conservation, public health and safety, navigation of the Waihou River and engineering and maintenance plans.
If within the five years the trust indicates that it cannot manage the project, the Transport Agency can take back ownership of the bridge.