There is agreement a double-lane bridge over the Kawarau
River is necessary, but what design it should take and
whether it should connect to Roberston St in Frankton is an
issue in a three-day hearing which began yesterday.
The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) is seeking to alter a
designation to provide for the construction, operation and
maintenance of a new Kawarau Falls Bridge on State Highway 6,
near Frankton and Kelvin Heights.
The agency has proposed the new bridge, which would be
located immediately downstream of the existing bridge, be
252m long and 14m wide.
In the opening legal submissions, read yesterday by Nicky
McIndoe, counsel for the NZTA, it was said ''the design of
the proposed bridge is deliberately understated''.
''The proposed bridge will be located in the context of an
outstanding natural feature (i.e. the Kawarau River
corridor), and the bridge design makes no attempt to compete
with that feature for attention.''
Suggestions that a more ''aesthetically iconic'' bridge would
be more appropriate were dismissed in the agency's
The NZTA said that while the selected design may not be the
favoured option for some submitters ''this does not mean the
NZTA's design is wrong or flawed''.
''The NZTA submits that some of the other design choices
favoured by submitters [and] experts would not meet the
NZTA's project objectives.''
None of the nine submissions opposes the project but the NZTA
acknowledged three submitters - the Frankton Community
Association, Remarkables Park Ltd and the Otago Regional
Council - did not totally agree with the agency's design.
''These submitters favour a connection to Robertson St, a
bridge alignment which is located further away from the
existing bridge, a concrete (rather than steel) bridge
design, a bridge which is wider or has an additional tier,
additional trails and provision of steps (in addition to the
graded paths already ... provided).''
The agency said none of the suggestions put forward by the
submitters ''are actually required in order to mitigate any
of the project's effects''.
Remarkables Park Ltd argued a connection to Robertson St from
the new bridge would provide access from the south to the
Frankton Flats, which is earmarked for significant future
commercial, retail, employment and education facilities.
NZTA senior project manager Philip Dowsett said traffic
congestion at the bridge during peak times was exacerbated
most recently on December 30.
Some vehicles left long distances between themselves and
those in front and this resulted in the traffic light sensors
detecting only one vehicle queuing ''and the phasing adjusted
to favour the northern queue''.
Contractors were posted the following day to help ease
vehicles over the bridge.
The hearing is scheduled to continue today and tomorrow in
Queenstown and is being heard by independent commissioners
Denis Nugent and Jane Taylor.