Saturday, December 10, 2011

KOPU BRIDGE, Thames NZ - opens today

A big moment for Thames, or more importantly the thousands of Aucklanders' that flock to the Coromandel Peninsula over the summer months.  The one lane Kopu (Hauraki) Bridge is coming to the end of its life for car transport!

The big new concrete, two lane structure is open today (10 December 2011) for pedestrians and later in the week for vehicles. Prior to 1928 people relied on boats and ferries to quickly access the Hauraki Plains. The large one way, wooden bridge was built 1926-28 and was opened in May 1928 by the Prime Minister, Gordon Coates. The Kopu Bridge is on the NZ Historic Places Register as a Category One. "The Kopu Bridge is nationally significant as the only surviving road bridge of swing span type in the country. It makes a valuable contribution to the history of both motorised road transport and shipping, and is particularly significant for demonstrating early central government involvement in the development of highways. It marks the last stages in the history of major river transport on the Waihou, used by both Maori and Captain Cook."

Todays transport figues give 9000 crossings per day and 18,000 in the summer months - thus stretching the one way structure and the driver's patience to the limits. Full details and gallery of photos, for the new bridge is available at the NZ Transport Agency website.

The Coromandel Heritage Trust has for sale at The Treasury, a DVD covering the history of the Bridge - "Over Troubled Water, The Story of the Kopu Bridge."

DVD available at The Treasury, Thames
You tube videos of the Kopu Bridge:
The Kopu Bridge by Bailey and Jacob
Kopu bridge opening and Kopu Bridge closing and new bridge by The Connelly53
NB. A group has been set up to SAVE THE OLD KOPU BRIDGE, there are details and a petition that can be signed on line.