An artist's impression of the proposed Kawarau Falls
bridge. Image supplied.
Independent commissioners are backing construction of an
$18 million Kawarau Falls replacement bridge.
Commissioners Denis Nugent and Jane Taylor recommended in
their report to the Queenstown Lakes District Council to
approve the construction, operation and maintenance of a new
bridge across the Kawarau River at Kawarau Falls, with
''Although we have disagreed over the detail of how the
future of the existing bridge is handled, we are in agreement
that the notice of requirement ... represents sustainable
management of natural and physical resources and should be
confirmed,'' the commissioners said.
The conditions dealt with management planning for the
environment, dust, noise, traffic, archaeology and
landscaping. However, Mrs Taylor's recommended modification
to the notice concerned the future use of the existing
The modification called for the New Zealand Transport Agency
(NZTA) to maintain the state highway status of the existing
bridge until arrangements ensured its long-term availability
for pedestrians and cyclists.
The NZTA proposed, ''in time'', to realign State Highway 6 to
cross the Kawarau River on a new two-lane bridge east of the
existing bridge. A new bridge is not expected until after
It served a notice of requirement to the council to alter the
designation for State Highway 6 in the district plan by
including within it land required for the new bridge.
The notice provided for a 252m long and 13.8m wide bridge, to
curve from the existing highway south of the Kawarau River
150m east of the existing bridge, and to join the northern
bank immediately to the east of the existing bridge.
The bridge would carry two traffic lanes with 1.5m shoulders
and a 1.8m pedestrian footpath.
All submitters other than the Queenstown Trails Trust, which
was neutral, supported the notice of requirement. Only the
Queenstown Airport Corporation supported the notice
unconditionally. The remaining seven submitters gave
About 450 vehicles crossed the bridge per hour, rising to
about 580 per hour between 5pm and 6pm. In the Christmas-New
Year period, about 750 vehicles per hour attempted to cross,
which caused long queues.
Council transport manager and submitter Denis Mander said
yesterday he understood the agency, as the requiring
authority, had 30 working days to advise Lakes Environmental
whether it accepted, or rejected, the recommendations in
whole or in part, or whether it proposed to modify the
NZTA spokesman Bob Nettleton said yesterday agency staff had
received the 51-page report and were looking through it.