PM says 'no advice' on bridge

Prime Minister and Tourism Minister John Key has had ''no advice'' about bringing forward funding for a new Kawarau Falls Bridge, despite the old single-lane one being a cause of traffic congestion.

Mr Key was in Queenstown at the end of February, where he announced $8 million of funding for the New Zealand Cycle Trail Great Rides and an additional $500,000 for the Around the Mountains cycle trail, the second stage of which is from Mossburn to Walter Peak.

Although the Kawarau Falls Bridge is considered a vital tourism link, construction of a new $18 million two-lane bridge is not expected to begin until after 2016 and the new bridge will take about two years to build.

Between March 16 and April 30, the bridge will be partly closed for repair work.

It will be closed to traffic from 11pm to 6am, from Sunday nights until Friday mornings, but there will be a 10-minute period on the hour for motorists to get through and the bridge will remain open on Friday and Saturday nights.

It will be accessible at all times for emergency services and the footbridge will also remain open.

When the Otago Daily Times asked Mr Key whether funding for the bridge would be brought forward, Mr Key's response was only that he had received no advice on the matter.