Frequently asked questions and answers about the location for the new Kawarau Falls Bridge.
The need for a new bridge across the Kawarau River has been identified by the NZ Transport Agency and its predecessor organizations for a considerable time. In 2007, as result of sustained growth in the Wakatipu Basin and the Frankton Flats area, the Wakatipu Transportation Strategy (WTS) identified a number of short to long-term improvements including a new two-lane bridge at Kawarau Falls to manage traffic growth in this area.
A number of necessary improvement projects were identified. The short-term ones were roundabouts at Glenda Drive and Grant Road which are now being built and a new Kawarau River two-lane bridge, which is currently being tendered for design and construction. In the long-term, the Boyd Road extension and eastern route were identified as a potential Frankton bypass.
A bridge at the current Kawarau Falls site became the preferred option in 2009 after extensive option consideration from 2001 through to 2009. This included amongst others, bridge options at Boyd Road and Douglas Street. The other options were ultimately discarded for a number of reasons; including economic benefits and public support.
The traffic modeling undertaken for the Wakatipu Transportation Study confirmed that only low volumes of traffic would divert to such a bridge in the short to medium term as the majority traffic on SH 6 has Queenstown as either its origin or destination. This has been by confirmed by updated modelling carried out in May 2015.
Very little work has been done on assessing the cost of this option, but a high level estimate puts it in the order of $36 million.
Some community concerns about this site, prompted the Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) to ask the NZ Transport Agency to carry out an updated transport modeling assessment that considered the merits of an alternative bridge between Boyd Road and the Eastern Access Road.
It shows that the designated location for the new bridge is for the most appropriate to meet current and future needs. The assessment also shows that in the short to medium-term, the preference for the majority of vehicles on State highway 6 (SH6) is to use the designated bridge crossing point. However, it also supports a second crossing of the Kawarau River in the longer term.
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. This finding is consistent with the Wakatipu Transportation Strategy from 2007.
The NZ 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.
Not currently. It may at some point in the longer term depending on the rate of growth in the Frankton Flats area.
The Transport Agency intends working with QLDC to accelerate the development of improvements at the SH 6/6A intersection (BP roundabout), to better manage growing traffic demand. The details and timelines for these improvements are still a few months away from completion.
The Transport Agency will also complete construction of roundabouts at Glenda Drive and Grant Road to improve traffic flows on SH6.
We will continue to work with QLDC towards providing a long-term transport solutions for both the Wakatipu Basin and Queenstown.