The final section of concrete deck on the new two-lane Kopu Bridge was poured on Monday (19 September).
As most of the preloaded areas prepared for the bridge approach roads have now reached their settlement targets, construction of the approach roads has become the main focus of works on the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) Kopu Bridge replacement project.
NZTA Project Services Manager Bryce Carter said now the bridge framework is complete, finishing works such as barrier and railing construction is under way.
"To build the bridge, the Contractor has poured 13,200 tonnes of concrete – or 1100 truckloads. While that sounds a lot, the bridge is 580 metres long and is actually a lot lighter than others of a similar size. The bridge is founded on very soft subsoils, so we needed to minimise its weight. We achieved this by using lighter steel bridge beams instead of the standard concrete beams."
While the final deck concrete was being poured, road construction crews were preparing to seal the first completed sections of the new eastern approach road to the SH25/26 roundabout. The eastern approach and the slip lane connection to Kopu Road are now formed, but road construction is yet to begin where the road meets the bridge.
On the western approach, subsoils have settled sufficiently on some sections for road construction to begin. However, settlement targets have still not yet been reached on the section closest to the bridge.
Mr Carter said settlement rates and weather were now the remaining key factors affecting whether the project would be finished before or after Christmas this year. The project is ahead of schedule, with completion originally expected in May 2012.
The Kopu Bridge Replacement project was launched by Prime Minister John Key in July 2009 as part of the government's $500 million Jobs and Growth Plan. It will reduce travel times and fuel costs for all road users, and eliminate bridge queues.