Queenstown drivers may experience some queuing at the new Kawarau Falls bridge from this week as the heritage bridge, which has taken northbound traffic over the busy holiday period, closes permanently to motorised traffic. From this week, all road users will travel on the new Kawarau Falls bridge, part of State Highway 6, through Frankton.
“Over the Christmas/ New Year period, drivers were able to use one lane on each bridge with no need for traffic signals.
“While this worked very well, we now need to get the old bridge prepared as a walking and cycling route and complete work on the new bridge approaches,” says NZ Transport Agency Senior Project Manager, Phil Dowsett.
The northern approach to the new bridge will be completed including underground utilities (water, power, stormwater drains) as well as the pedestrian and cycling underpass to the state highway. The heritage bridge closure will see a start on converting it to part of the Queenstown Trails Network for walkers and off-road cyclists, he says.
Temporary traffic signals will be used up to April’s full bridge opening to manage traffic on the new bridge.
Construction of this two-lane bridge will shorten journey times in Queenstown’s Frankton Flats area and provide better access to developments south of Frankton, including as far afield as Invercargill and Milford Sound.
“Thank you to all drivers for taking care around the bridge and road building crews in the lead up to the full bridge opening, and for building in some extra travel-time until then,” says Mr Dowsett.
The two-lane Kawarau Falls Bridge is a contributor to a wider transport improvement plan for the Wakatipu Basin involving the NZ Transport Agency, Queenstown Lakes District Council, Otago Regional Council and Queenstown Airport Corporation. This plan aims to tackle the transport issues facing the Wakatipu Basin, stemming from strong tourism growth and developments associated with this visitor boom.
Kawarau Falls Bridge project pages: https://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/new-two-lane-kawarau-falls-bridge-project/