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New data supports location for new SH6 Kawarau Falls Bridge

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A new assessment based on recently updated traffic modelling shows the site chosen for the new two-lane Kawarau Falls Bridge on State highway 6 (SH6) near Frankton is the best location for the bridge.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) asked the NZ Transport Agency to carry out the fresh transport modelling assessment to address community concerns about the bridge site. The assessment considered the merits of an alternative bridge between Boyd Road and the Eastern Access Road.

NZ Transport Agency Regional Director Southern, Jim Harland says the assessment has now been done, and after carefully considering its implications, the Transport Agency will continue with their programme to build the new bridge. The assessment confirms the selected location for the bridge will best address current and future needs.

“This assessment shows that in the short to medium term, the preference for the majority of vehicles on State highway (SH 6) south of the Kawarau River is to use the current designated bridge crossing point.”

Mr Harland says if existing development levels continue or accelerate within the Wakatipu Basin, then longer-term provision needs to be made for a second bridge over the Kawarau River, a finding that’s consistent with the Wakatipu Transportation Strategy from 2007. The Transport Agency will work with QLDC to identify what must be done to enable a second crossing point of the Kawarau River in the longer term.

The Government identified the Kawarau Falls Bridge as one of five critically important regional projects for funding through the Accelerated Regional Roading Package.  The $25 million dedicated funding for a modernised crossing over the Kawarau River was made available to address traffic growth issues in the area.  This funding has brought the project forward by three to four years.

In the short term, the Transport Agency also plans to work with QLDC to accelerate the development of improvements at the SH 6/6A intersection, to better manage growing traffic demand. In addition, we will continue to work with QLDC towards providing a long-term transport solution for both the Wakatipu Basin and Queenstown he said.

Roundabouts are also being constructed to improve traffic flows on SH6 at Glenda Drive and Grant Road.

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