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Artist’s impression of the bridge design showing location of the cranes. Photo: SUPPLIED/NZTA

SH25A to re-open by end of March 2024

Physical works are underway for the construction of a bridge reconnecting State Highway 25A, to be completed by the end of March 2024. The summit of SH25A between Kōpū and Hikuai collapsed during the North Island’s major storm event in late January and remains closed.

While contract negotiations with the preferred consortia were ongoing, there had been no delay to the work programme, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s Regional Manager of Infrastructure Delivery Waikato/Bay of Plenty Jo Wilton said.

“A bridge of this type would normally be expected to take 12 to 14 months to construct, but Waka Kotahi is working with the consortia to accelerate delivery and get the route open in nine months’ time, by the end of March, 2024,” Ms Wilton said.

A small private dawn blessing took place at the site this morning signalling the formal start of enabling works.

“Drainage water management is underway today with earthworks to build all-weather access tracks for heavy machinery the next job ahead,” Ms Wilton says.

Over the past fortnight, project ecologists and the design and construction team have been visiting the site to confirm design assumptions and develop construction methodologies.

“Drilling to confirm the founding depth of the piles at the location of the bridge abutments began last Wednesday [June 21] under the jurisdiction of Waka Kotahi contractors who remained in charge of the site until the consortium were given the keys following the blessing this morning,” Ms Wilton said.

“Waka Kotahi is doing everything possible to further accelerate construction, which will include contractors working extended hours at the work site and working seven days a week where possible.

“Up to 100 people will be working at the SH25A Taparahi site with additional labour dedicated to offsite works, such as prefabrication of bridge components.

“Workers will be divided into two teams working two 10-hour shifts, with 80 percent of the crew housed locally on the peninsula,” Ms Wilton explains.

Over the next two months, a platform will be built to support the cranes required for the build.

Pile casings will be in the country by the end of July, with piling getting underway in August.