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Appeal against new Kawarau Falls Bridge withdrawn

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The last remaining appeal against a decision by the NZ Transport Agency to change the designation for a new two-lane bridge at Kawarau Falls Bridge near Queenstown was withdrawn late last week, meaning a five day hearing due start today has been cancelled.

In September 2012, Lakes Environmental Limited, as the regulatory arm of Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) advertised the Notice of Requirement to alter the State highway 6 designation at the Kawarau Falls Bridge. Public submissions on this closed in October 2012 with a Queenstown Lakes District Council Hearing of submissions held earlier this year.

NZ Transport Agency Otago-Southland Highways Manager Ian Duncan said based on the Commissioners’ recommendation issued following the hearing, the Transport Agency made its decision on 28th March. This decision was appealed by two parties who have now withdrawn their appeals. As a result of some of the issues raised in the appeals, there will be minor changes to the conditions for the designation around the process of designing walking and cycling facilities on both the existing and new bridges.

“Once the Environment Court confirms the designation, the Resource Management Act processes for the project will be completed, apart from an Outline Plan of Works. This plan must be submitted to QLDC prior to construction with the detail of the final design of the new bridge.”

The future of the existing bridge/dam structure owned by the Ministry of Building, Employment and Innovation and leased to the Transport Agency isn’t covered by the Notice of Requirement. When the current bridge is no longer required for highway traffic, it is likely to remain available for pedestrians and cyclists. The Transport Agency is working closely with QLDC to seek a secure future for the structure.

Mr Duncan said the detailed design and construction of the new bridge is included the Transport Agency’s 10-year State highway plan. The construction programme must first go to the Otago Regional Transport Committee for inclusion in the 2015-2018 Regional Land Transport Programme, and then through the Transport Agency’s national prioritisation process for funding consideration.

If construction funding is approved, work on the new bridge may start some time after 2016 and is expected to take about two years to build he said.

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