Government plans to bring forward construction of a new
bridge at Kawarau Falls is ''sensational news'' which will help
deliver a complete ''world-class experience'' for visitors,
Destination Queenstown chief executive Graham Budd says.
The $20 million to $25 million replacement of the Kawarau
Falls Bridge, announced by Prime Minister John Key on Sunday,
is expected to begin next year as part of a $212 million
national roading upgrade.
Mr Budd yesterday said replacing the existing single-lane
structure was something the Queenstown community had been
needing and wanting for a long time.
''The main reason I'm delighted is that from a visitor
experience point of view it will make a very big difference.
"Obviously at our peak times we have a bottleneck there ...
particularly in winter when people are getting across to and
from the Remarkables ski area and also in summertime.
"But probably most importantly it's our main gateway to the
South and a key part of our roading network.
''I think as a world-class destination we need
world-class roading and infrastructure and frankly the Kawarau
bridge currently is far from delivering a world-class
The Queenstown Lakes District Council also welcomed news of
the bridge work being started sooner than had previously been
The district's Mayor, Vanessa van Uden, agreed the bridge was
a significant gateway for locals and visitors and a
replacement would remove the bottleneck situation there.
''We are also working with the NZTA to construct a new
roundabout to improve the intersection of Glenda Dr with the
state highway,'' Ms van Uden said.
''Our next major challenge will be to address the build-up of
traffic at the Frankton roundabout, because until that is
done we are unlikely to see significant improvements to
traffic congestion at Frankton.''
But Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan questioned the $212 million
windfall for some roading projects after his district council
was told its New Zealand Transport Agency funding for roading
would be ''slashed'' by 18%.
''We have the third-largest roading network in the country
but are being told there's no more government money for
roads, and we'll have to fund more from rates, so you can see
why I'm slightly confused about this announcement [of the
$212 million]'', he said.
The recent funding assistance rate review would result in
Clutha's 62% NZTA subsidy dropping to 53% over the next nine
''That's going to have implications on the rate take as we'll
have to gather more in rates to keep road funding at the
Clutha had 250 bridges and bridge culverts in its district,
Mr Cadogan observed.