NZ Local News

Coromandel’s State Highway 25A set to re-open in time for Christmas

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State Highway 25A between Kōpū and Hikuai will reopen to traffic in the coming days, in time for Christmas and a full three months earlier than anticipated.

The route will re-open by next Wednesday with just a few final touches left on the new 124-metre viaduct bridge.

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, speaking from the site this morning, said there were a lot of good lessons in this project on how government can speed up consenting.

“This is a great example of what we want to do across the country.

“A big part of it is looking at working 24/7 more. We’ve got all the talent and smarts to do it so we need to look at how we can speed things up and get things done.

“There’s a lot of learning out of the project.”

The bridge will reconnect the road after a section of the highway was washed away after late January’s major storm events.

Thames-Coromandel District mayor Len Salt said he was glad to host Luxon and Transport Minister Simeon Brown at the bridge this morning and showcase what can be done.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do ahead of us but I’m feeling really encouraged that we’re on the right path.

“We’re all so happy to have reached this part of the journey. It’s been a tough year on so many levels for so many people.”

“Who would’ve thought that a bridge would get such an emotional response from the community it affects. This isn’t about infrastructure. This is about how it affects the community.”

The news brings a welcome economic boost to the beleaguered Coromandel Peninsula, an area heavily reliant on tourism, which has suffered severe economic downturn on the back of last summer’s cyclones and weather events.

A worker on State Highway 25a. Photo / Corey Fleming
A worker on State Highway 25a. Photo / Corey Fleming

Construction began in June after the Government committed to fund New Zealand Transport Agency Waka Kotahi an initial cost estimate of $30-40 million in May, which was later revised to be closer to $50 million.

Progress at the State Highway 25a site. Photo / Corey Fleming
Progress at the State Highway 25a site. Photo / Corey Fleming

Transport Minister at the time, Michael Wood, said the money for the project would come from the Government’s $250m top-up to the National Land Transport Programme fund, set up to support the recovery.

The washout on State Highway 25A, Kopu to Hikuai Rd. Photo / Waka Kotahi
The washout on State Highway 25A, Kopu to Hikuai Rd. Photo / Waka Kotahi

NZTA Waka Kotahi regional manager Jo Wilton said getting traffic across as soon as possible has always been the aim.

“We’re thrilled to be able to announce that the two sides of the Coromandel Peninsula will be reconnected once again in time for the summer holidays.

“We know how difficult the highway closure has been on local families, businesses, schools and communities and the impact it’s had on visitors to the region. That’s why, along with our builders, McConnell Dowell and Fulton Hogan J.V., we’ve pulled out all the stops to deliver the fastest and most resilient solution for the Coromandel.

“Getting it open in less than seven months is a huge achievement given a bridge of this type would normally take 12 to 14 months to construct.

“We’ve built the bridge in record time by accelerating our work programme, with teams working 24-hour shifts both onsite and offsite at Eastbridge in Napier, where the steel girders were manufactured.

“In addition, we used a bridge design we already had and repurposed steel plates which had been purchased for the Minden Bridge on Tauranga’s Takitimu North Link project, meaning we didn’t have a lengthy wait for steel to come in from overseas.”

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