The NZ Transport Agency last week heard directly from the Clutha District’s Beaumont residents around the future alignment of a new bridge across the Clutha River in their town.
“A community meeting organised by the Transport Agency in Beaumont provided the project team with helpful insights to residents’ views, preferences and concerns as well as picking up on local history and insights,” says Transport Agency Projects Team Manager Simon Underwood.
A small but focused group of more than 20 residents attended the community engagement day, together with Councillors from both the Clutha District and Otago Regional Councils.
As part of the business case planning for a new highway bridge at Beaumont, the Transport Agency put forward two broad options for community feedback. Both options would involve a new bridge downstream of the existing single lane bridge: one taking a more direct line behind the hotel (Option B), and the other more closely following the existing highway alignment, which would continue to pass in front of the hotel (Option A).
“Although views across the two options have been mixed, from the engagement undertaken to date there is a clear community preference emerging for Option A – where the highway would continue to pass in front of the hotel,” says Mr Underwood.
Completion of the “Detailed Business Case” for the bridge is likely to run through to March/April 2017 and will involve further engagement with key stakeholders including the Clutha District Council, as well as geotechnical, environmental, structural, and highway safety considerations.
“Until this is complete, no one option is off the table,” says Mr Underwood. “But the Transport Agency acknowledges the community’s preference for Option A, and in progressing with the business case we will be seeking to develop that option in the first instance.”