The future of the 85-year-old Kopu Bridge hangs in the balance following a proposal to transfer ownership of the bridge to the Thames Coromandel District Council.
The NZ Transport Agency is considering transferring $2.3 million to the council – money that was allocated for its destruction – on the condition that the ownership of the structure and all future costs and liabilities would transfer away from the Transport Agency.
If the Thames Coromandel District Council doesn’t accept the proposal from NZTA the 85-year-old Kopu Bridge could be destroyed.
“We would only transfer these funds to an entity such as a local authority, which we could have sufficient confidence in that there would be minimal, or preferably, no risk that the entity would fail in the future and leave a burden on the general public or the government,” says Waikato highways manager Kaye Clark.
Kaye says they are waiting on TCDC to advise how they could meet those conditions.
“The funds we would consider transferring are in the order of $2.3 million. From that amount we would deduct any funds spent between now and when a decision was made to transfer the remaining amount.”
The Transport Agency estimates that it would cost about $2.3 million to upgrade the bridge to safely use it for walking and cycling, plus around $250,000 every year for maintenance.
“All of this funding would have to be raised by the group who took over ownership of the bridge.”