Double crossing for Christmas
A temporary two-lane Kawarau Falls bridge crossing will be a Christmas present for Queenstown drivers.
Travellers will go across the old bridge and use one lane of the new Kawarau Falls bridge during the busy period of Christmas and New Year.
New Zealand Transport Agency and construction company McConnell Dowell have agreed on a traffic management plan.
The agency’s regional relationships director Jim Harland said they were working on delivering the best outcome for the community.
‘‘Given the pressure on highways around Queenstown during the Christmas, New Year peak, drivers will be travelling over the new bridge as well as the existing bridge by the end of this year, in order to allow two-way traffic and avoid the traditional traffic bottleneck at this time of year.’’
The two-lane $22 million bridge was scheduled to be open before the ski season this year.
However, the due date was postponed until late March next year.
NZTA project manager Phil Dow- sett said drivers’ tolerance and understanding was appreciated.
‘‘Throughout the construction, the Transport Agency and McConnell Dowell will be working together to minimise the inevitable disruption to traffic whilst getting the work done as quickly as possible,’’ he said.
The State Highway 6 Kawarau Falls Bridge project programme has been adjusted to include the two Queenstown Lakes District Council water pipelines.
The council will spend $7.3 million on new waste water and water main pipelines that were projected to cost $1m.
Council chief executive Mike Theelen said it was a sensible investment.
‘‘As new development accelerates in areas south of the bridge, it is important to ensure we take the opportunity to get new infrastructure in place early.
‘‘While this work will impact on the final completion date for the project, doing it now will be less disruptive than digging up the road in a few years’ time to lay them then,’’ Theelen said.
The pipelines are part of council’s infrastructure development to support Hanley Downs, Jack’s Point and Kelvin Heights subdivisions.