Evidence in support of bridge to be presented

The one-lane Kawarau Falls Bridge can become congested at peak times. Photo by James Beech.
The one-lane Kawarau Falls Bridge can become congested at peak times. Photo by James Beech.
Evidence calling for the long-awaited new two-lane Kawarau Falls bridge will be presented by the Queenstown Lakes District Council at a hearing next month.

Commissioners Jane Taylor and Dennis Nugent are scheduled to sit at a New Zealand Transport Agency hearing in Queenstown on February 11 to 13.

Transport manager Denis Mander said on Friday he was preparing evidence for the council-approved submission to explain why the new bridge on State Highway 6 was required.

''It's very significant in that currently we have a one-lane bridge that happens to be in the urban area of Queenstown,'' he said.

''Our concern's around increasing congestion, not only from locals getting home and to work, but for visitors.

''We're concerned about the impact of a one-lane bridge in terms of the accessibility of Queenstown, the Remarkables skifield and on to Milford Sound.

''A new bridge is required to ease that congestion, to provide for growth and to improve visitor experience.

''At a local level, there's concern that we are very reliant on one one-lane bridge and if that bridge is blocked for any reason, there is no alternative route.''

The submission would seek designation conditions so ''the look and feel'' of the bridge and its pedestrian-cycle connections with existing trails were addressed in the next stage of design, Mr Mander said.

The proposed bridge, resited downstream of the existing structure, would be 252m long and 14m wide, gently curving. with two traffic lanes and use the existing SH6 approaches. A 2m-wide pedestrian path would be provided on the eastern side of the new bridge.

The aim of the application hearing was to secure the designation for the proposed route so detailed design could proceed. Detailed design of the physical works of the new bridge, approach realignments and the construction process have not been confirmed.

The cost of the bridge project has been estimated at between $5 million and $20 million.