Two milestones will be reached this month on the Kopu Bridge Replacement project (May 2011) - one at each end of the bridge.
From the temporary work platform extending from the eastern bank of the Waihou River, the last set of piles are expected to be driven by the middle of May.
From the western work platform, the last span of beams will be laid on the western section of the bridge, and the final section of deck constructed.
NZ Transport Agency Project Services Manager Bryce Carter said the project remained on target for completion by mid 2012.
Construction of the $47m two-lane Kopu Bridge was brought forward in 2009 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 for all bridge users.
“Completion of piling is a significant milestone. Because this bridge is built on soft soils, the piles are up to 55m deep, and 6-8 piles are required to support each bridge pier. If all the piles were laid end to end, they would reach from Kopu to Thames,” he said.
Completing the last span on the western section will mean construction vehicles can be driven onto the bridge for the first time, Mr Carter said.
The final section extends from the bridge abutment (where the bridge meets the approach road) to the first pier.
“The Contractor will soon begin constructing the concrete barrier on the southern edge of the bridge, and a second barrier separating the traffic lanes from the combined cycle/walkway,” he said.
Mr Carter said soil settlement rates will determine when work can start on building the approach roads. Settlement rates to date are in line with what the project team expected. If this continues, the approach roads will be built in the next spring/summer construction season.
Landscaping and retaining wall construction at the new State Highway 25/26 roundabout will also be completed this month.