Our Road to Recovery: SH25A bridge announced, Business Recovery update
Published on 09 May 2023
Above Left to Right: Mayor Len Salt | David Speirs - Waka Kotahi Director of Regional Relationships, Waikato/Bay of Plenty | Hon Minister Michael Wood - Transport Minister and Minister for Cyclone Recovery for the Coromandel | Brett Gliddon - General Manager of Transport Services, Waka Kotahi
July start announced by Hon Minister Wood for new SH25A bridge
Minister of Transport, Michael Wood, today announced that a steel bridge will be the fastest and most resilient solution to reconnect Kōpu-Hikuai SH25A, with work expected to start in July, and an estimated finishing date of early 2024.
“Coromandel communities and businesses need certainty that the investment will be made. Today I can give that commitment,” says Minister Wood, who is also the Cyclone Recovery Minister for the Coromandel. “The bridge is the right solution and will connect the Coromandel in the shortest time possible. We are focused on building back better so the new bridge is resilient and fit for purpose.”
Speaking to a crowded media gathering at our Council’s Chambers, Minister Wood said the impact on our Coromandel communities and businesses was “top of mind” for everyone involved in the decision. SH25A has been closed since late January, when a 130m section of the road slipped away following damage.
“We are acutely aware of the impact that this road being closed has had on businesses. We want to work with them and continue to support them. You have our absolute commitment on that,” he says.
The tender process for the bridge is already underway, with a contract for the bridge to be awarded at the end of June. The design of the bridge will be decided upon directly after the contract is finalised, so that the build will work in with the contractor’s plant equipment.
“This is an important moment, and the last critical piece of the puzzle to reconnect the Coromandel.
“We know time is of the essence with this project - it has to be safe, and it has to be resilient. I want to reassure communities we will leave no stone unturned to re-open the road as soon as it’s safe to do so.”
Speaking after Minister Wood, our Mayor Len Salt thanked everyone involved in the process, and acknowledged the pain and frustration of our Coromandel communities at the closure of the region’s vital lifeline. “Businesses, communities, friends and neighbours have all rallied around, but we still need support and will do for some time to come.”
Minister Wood confirmed he would continue to work with Coromandel communities and businesses, through his Community Advisory Group, to explore how the government could provide further support.
More funding for hard-hit businesses
Central government has confirmed an additional $25 million of business recovery support in the regions affected by Cyclone Gabrielle. This follows earlier support of $50 million to assist the business community with immediate cashflow needs.
Approximately $4.3 million in funding will be allocated to our Council to administer on behalf of the Waikato region in the third tranche of business support funding.
“This means we’re able to re-visit some of the earlier applications we’ve had,” says Mayor Len. “The most help is needed in the Thames-Coromandel area for those businesses cut off by the closure of SH25A.”
Our Council received 528 applications seeking $10.8 million in support for the previously available $3.8 million in central government funding. More than 90 per cent of applicants were from our District.
Payments to 396 successful recipients to date began from 11 April and the entire fund from Tranche One and Two has now been distributed. The average grant per recipient is $9,596 (dividing $3.8 million by 396).
Government cyclone recovery support to date
- An initial $250 million for Waka Kotahi and local councils to assess and fix roads
- $74 million for affected farmers and growers to clean up and re-establish their businesses
- $75 million for businesses with immediate costs and clean-up – to be distributed by local delivery partners in the affected regions
- $5 million to Mayoral Relief Funds
- More than $65.8 million in Civil Defence Payments
- Inquiry announced into forestry slash and land use after Cyclone Gabrielle
- A new Recovery Visa created to help bring in additional specialist workers
- Temporary Accommodation Service activated in affected regions
- Cyclone Gabrielle Appeal Fund Launched along with a special Lotto Draw on Saturday 18 March
- $15 million short-term relief package to support Māori communities
- A further $17.5 million to support communities and community providers
- $3.25 million to support the immediate mental wellbeing needs of people impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle
- $15 million for councils to remove rubbish
Tapu-Coroglen Road repairs
Our Council’s roading team is getting closer to a temporary alternative route on the Tapu-Coroglen Road (which is a local Council road). The temporary route should be ready for use in June – but it will depend on the impact of the latest weather event this week. The works have temporarily been put on hold.
In the meantime, our team is working on a permanent repair to the road that is expected to be complete in December. You can read more at tcdc.govt.nz/roads.
Around our roading network
- Slip removal and culvert clearing on Coville Road has been completed.
- Additional safety measures have been installed including traffic signs, sight rails and levelling across several of our storm damage sites.
- The Tapu-Coroglen Road temporary route works have begun.
- Remedial works for Hahei Beach Road are planned to begin within the next couple weeks.
- Further drainage clearing and jetting has been an ongoing focus across the network.
- Mercury Bay: Bluff Road remains CLOSED to vehicles due to a void that has formed near the bridge at the end of the road.
- Waka Kotahi advises that Moana Anu Anu Bridge (also known as the Wentworth River Bridge) on SH25 near the intersection of Tairua Road and Port Road, will be closed to all traffic (including cyclists and pedestrians) during two one-day closures in May and June for essential maintenance work. The closures are scheduled for Wednesday 17 May and Friday 9 June, from 7am to 5pm. Motorists travelling between Waihi and Tairua on State Highway 25 (SH25) will be detoured through Whangamatā during this time.
For more information and updates, stay in touch with our Facebook page and tcdc.govt.nz/roads. For State Highways, visit Waka Kotahi website.