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Published: 2009-02-11 00:00:00

Environment Waikato says it is extremely pleased at the Government’s announcement that it will fund an early start to construction of a new Kopu Bridge near Thames on the Coromandel.

The Government said this morning the project will get underway in July, two years ahead of schedule.

"A quicker start to building a new two-lane bridge beside the existing one-lane structure at Kopu will bring a faster end to this irritating roading bottleneck," said EW councilor Norm Barker, who chairs the multi-agency Regional Transport Committee.

"It will help make the long waits at the current bridge a thing of the past, speeding up passenger traffic flows and the movement of freight in the area.

"It is particularly pleasing to see this project being given an earlier start date at one end of the region, while in the south of our region the East Taupo Arterial route, a $100 million project bypassing Taupo, is to have its sod-turning ceremony this Friday.

"This large infrastructure spend is fantastic news for our region. We are making much better progress on advancing regional roading initiatives and we look forward to working with the Government on progressing completion of the Waikato Expressway."