The official opening of the new Kopu Bridge today will come as a huge relief to both holiday motorists and those who rely on the route more regularly, says Transport Minister Steven Joyce.
“Work on the $47 million bridge replacement project was brought forward by three years as part of the government’s $500 million Jobs and Growth plan.
“The project has created about 50 local jobs that would not have otherwise been there, as well as work for local companies involved in supplying materials and providing supporting services.
“The new bridge will come as a huge relief to those reliant on it – particularly during the peak holiday period when queues of up to 10 kilometres long are legendary.
“The Coromandel is one of the country’s fastest growing visitor destinations, with 2.5 million visitors expected in 2011, and traffic volumes expected to continue to rise year-on-year.
“As well as creating a better link for holiday makers during the peak summer period, the new bridge will create a viable transport link for the community will support growing a strong local economy,” says Mr Joyce.
The project includes the construction of a new 580m-long, two-lane bridge over the Waihou River, a new four-leg, two-lane roundabout at the junction of SH25 and SH26, and 2.5km of associated approach roads, including a new link road to SH26 east of the bridge.
The new bridge will be 12.95m wide with 3.5m wide traffic lanes, 1.2m shoulders and a combined pedestrian/cycle lane on the north side of the bridge. This pedestrian/cycle lane will be separated from the traffic lanes by a concrete barrier with designs cast in the concrete.