Bridge Location Approved
He Ara Kotahi Bridge is another step closer to reality as Palmerston North City Council confirmed the site for the new cycleway and pedestrian bridge. It will cross the river near the intersection of Dittmer Drive and Ruha Street, after the recommendation from the Project Steering Group was unanimously endorsed by the Council’s Planning and Policy Committee. The committee also decided to include a central viewing platform in the bridge design and wants a range of options to be considered to the value of up to $280,000.
Project Steering Group Chair Ray Swadel said he was delighted Council had embraced the Karaka Tree design concept and agreed on the location. “This is just the start. There is still plenty to do before a bridge can be built and we are working to tight timeframes.” He said the deadlines must be met under the government’s funding criteria, meaning the bridge needs to be built in a little over two years. “We think this is achievable now that Council has given approval to the site.” Mr Swadel said the next step will be to present a detailed business case to the New Zealand Transport Agency for approval to obtain government funding for the project. “We also need to apply for resource consents. We’ll be undertaking technical assessments of both the effect of traffic and the visual impact on nearby residences as part of that process. We acknowledge that some residents have concerns about the potential impact of the bridge on their neighbourhood. We plan to work with residents as we develop the detailed design to address as many of those concerns as possible.” People can also make submissions during the consenting phase of the project. “Based on feedback from the community and the estimated number of commuter and recreational users of the shared pathway, we are convinced Ruha Street is the best site for the bridge. This view has been reinforced by Massey University’s decision to enable a direct link connecting the shared pathway to its campus and the Crown Research Institutes.” The 190 metre long bridge across the Manawatū River will be part of the shared pathway that will link the City with Massey University and Linton Military Camp and is a partnership between Horizons Regional Council, Massey University, Palmerston North City Council, New Zealand Army at Linton, New Zealand Transport Agency and Rangitāne. The $10m project is part of the government’s $333m Urban Cycleways Programme. It has received $3m from this programme and $3.2m from the National Land Transport Fund.