An application by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) to change the designation for a new two-lane bridge at Kawarau Falls Bridge on State highway 6 near Queenstown will be heard next month.
In September 2012, Lakes Environmental, as the regulatory arm of Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) advertised the Notice of Requirement to alter the State highway designation at the Kawarau Falls Bridge to allow a new bridge to be built alongside the existing bridge. Public submissions on this closed on 25th October 2012.
NZTA Regional Director Southern, Jim Harland, said nine submissions were received all either in support or neutral, with some submitters seeking additional conditions on the designation. A hearing has been arranged to take place over three days commencing on 11th February 2013 in Queenstown.
“Evidence from the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) and its New Zealand planning and engineering consultants, Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) will be given before Independent Commissioners, Denis Nugent and Jane Taylor.
The Commissioners will also hear evidence from Lakes Environmental and submitters before making their recommendation which will be passed to the NZTA for their final decision on the designation.
The future of the existing bridge/dam structure is not covered by the Notice of Requirement. The structure is owned by the Ministry of Building, Employment and Innovation but leased to the NZTA. When the existing bridge is no longer required for the State highway traffic, it will still be available for pedestrians and cyclists.
Mr. Harland says the Notice of Requirement process is different in several ways from the more common resource consent process, and recognizes the NZTA as a Requiring Authority that is providing a safe and efficient State highway network.
Prior to construction, an Outline Plan of Works must be submitted to Lakes Environmental with the detail of the final design of the new bridge, he said.
The detailed design and construction of the bridge is included in the NZTA’s 10 year State Highway plan. It is has also been signalled as a project of regional significance in the 2012-15 Otago Regional Transport Programme. Construction investment approval for the new bridge must first go through the Otago Regional Land Transport Committee and then through the NZTA’s national prioritisation of investment for State highway projects.
Work on the new two-lane bridge, expected to cost in the region of $20M, is anticipated to start some time after 2016 and take about 2 years to build.
More information about this project is available at SH6 Kawarau Falls Bridge replacement.