Otago Daily Times

Cy­cle trail plan has bridges, un­der­pass


- MATTHEW MCKEW matthew.mckew@odt.co.nz Queenstown · Citroën · New Zealand Department of Conservation · New Zealand · Queenstown · Cromwell · Otago · Queenstown · Victoria Falls

TWO new bridges and an un­der­pass are part of a pro­posed cy­cle route to even­tu­ally con­nect Queen­stown with Cromwell.

Plans have been afoot for a few years now, but Cen­tral Otago Queen­stown Trail Net­work Trust has pro­duced some­thing close to a fi­nal draft for the am­bi­tious plan.

A re­source con­sent ap­pli­ca­tion has been filed with the Queen­stown Lakes Dis­trict Coun­cil for the sec­tion be­tween Ne­vis Bluff and the Citroen Rapids, along the Kawa­rau Gorge.

The sub­mis­sion was made in Au­gust, but any ap­proval would be sub­ject to a con­di­tion that the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion al­lows cy­cling on the Crownowned land, per a par­tial re­view of the cur­rent con­ser­va­tion man­age­ment strat­egy.

Trust chair­man Stephen Jef­fery said that could take some months.

Ac­cord­ing to the plans, one bridge was to be lo­cated south of the ve­hi­cle cross­ing at Vic­to­ria Falls, be­cause a clip­on cy­cle bridge was not pos­si­ble there, Mr Jef­fery said.

Known as Ne­vis Ferry Bridge, the cross­ing would be a 105m­long sus­pen­sion bridge, ‘‘sim­i­lar in de­sign to the Edgar Bridge or South­ern Dis­cov­er­ies Bridge on the Queen­stown Trail’’, the sub­mis­sion read.

The bridge was to be made of 12m­high tim­ber poles, steel ca­bles and tim­ber deck­ing.

‘‘The poles, bar­rier and deck would be stained dark brown to bet­ter blend into the sur­round­ing land­scape.’’

A sec­ond, smaller but sim­i­larly de­signed bridge would cross south of Citroen Rapids, run­ning 80m across the Kawa­rau River.

The lo­ca­tion was de­scribed as ‘‘breath­tak­ing, and the bridge to­gether with the rapid be­low would make this a key fo­cal point on the trail’’.

The trust had pre­vi­ously con­sid­ered two fur­ther bridges at Ne­vis Bluff, al­low­ing for a trail on the north bank, but these had been dropped af­ter dis­cus­sion with New Zealand Trans­port Agency.

An un­der­pass is in­cluded in the plans, run­ning un­der­neath State High­way 6, 25m long, 3m wide and 2.5m high.

The sub­mis­sion said the un­der­pass ‘‘is a re­quire­ment of New Zealand Trans­port Agency ap­proval’’, be­ing the safest way to cross the busy road.

Mr Jef­fery said the project was likely to cost over $4 mil­lion, but would see around 20,000 users of the cy­cle track a year, with the ma­jor­ity be­ing New Zealan­ders.

He said use of the trails in the re­gion had not dropped dur­ing the pan­demic and the re­stric­tions on in­ter­na­tional travel in the coun­try.

The trust is near to com­plet­ing an­other trail be­tween Cromwell and Clyde, with the ex­pec­ta­tion it would be fin­ished in the sum­mer af­ter de­lays caused by Covid­19.

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