Pleased bridge appeals lifted

The removal of legal challenges against a new two-lane $18 million bridge across the Kawarau River announced last week was welcomed by Queenstown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden.

Remarkables Park Ltd and the Frankton Community Association independently withdrew appeals against the notice of requirement to alter the existing designation to enable construction, operation and maintenance of the new bridge on State Highway 6 across the Kawarau River in Frankton.

While the 87-year-old combined bridge and dam and the new structure, to be build over two years after 2016, belonged to the New Zealand Transport Agency, not the Queenstown Lakes District Council, Ms van Uden recognised the significance of securing the only physical link to Kelvin Heights, the Remarkables ski area, Jack's Point, Lakeside Estate and Kingston, as well as Southland and Fiordland.

''It's good to hear that another step has been made towards the construction of a new bridge,'' the mayor said.

''This is a very important piece of infrastructure for our district.''

The New Zealand Transport Authority believes it has remedied the problem which caused extended delays for motorists attempting to cross the Kawarau Falls Bridge during the busy holiday period last year.

Improvements to the traffic signal system had since been carried out, resulting in a smoother traffic flow across the one-lane bridge. Drivers should still be prepared for delays at certain times, due to the heavier traffic on roads in the resort.

NZTA Central Otago area manager John Jarvis said the agency would be carrying out routine maintenance at night before Christmas to secure several loose decking planks.

That would be followed by more extensive overnight work during February and March.