Sub­mis­sions open on pedes­trian bridge plans


Pub­lic sub­mis­sions are open on Palmer­ston North’s pro­posed cy­cle and pedes­trian bridge across the Manawatu River.

The bridge, at the cor­ner of Ruha St and Dittmer Drive, would be part of the He Ara Ko­tahi pro­ject link­ing to a 6.6-kilo­me­tre shared path­way from the Fitzher­bert Bridge to Massey Univer­sity and the science cen­tres, and to Lin­ton Mil­i­tary Camp.

Be­fore the $7 mil­lion bridge can be built, it needs re­source con­sents from the city coun­cil and Hori­zons Regional Coun­cil.

Those ap­pli­ca­tions have been lodged, and were be­ing pub­licly ad­ver­tised on Mon­day.

The no­ti­fi­ca­tion opens the four-week time frame for the pub­lic to lodge any sub­mis­sions, which closes on Mon­day, De­cem­ber 19.

He Ara Ko­tahi pro­ject steer­ing group chair­man Ray Swadel said the plan was to build a 190-me­tre long bridge with a cen­tral view­ing plat­form just down­stream of the holiday park.

It was ex­pected to at­tract more than 1000 users a day, reducing the num­ber of trips across the Fitzher­bert Bridge, pro­vid­ing an off-road op­tion for com­muters and an at­trac­tion for recre­ational walk­ers and cy­clists.

It has been de­signed with four spans, with fea­tures in­spired by the idea of a karaka tree fall­ing across the river form­ing a bridge. The canopy and branches of the karaka would fall on the north­ern bank off Dittmer Drive.

The pro­pos­als need con­sents from the reg­u­la­tory arms of both coun­cils.

‘‘A pro­ject of this com­plex­ity re­quires us to make ap­pli­ca­tions for a num­ber of land use con­sents, along with dis­charge and wa­ter per­mits,’’ Swadel said.

The con­struc­tion of the bridge would in­volve earth­works on the north­ern and south­ern em­bank­ments of the Manawatu River and would dis­turb the riverbed.

The work would in­clude al­ter­ations to the stop banks.

The river would have to be di­verted tem­po­rar­ily to al­low ma­chin­ery to get in to build the bridge piers on the riverbed.

The work would have to be car­ried out with sen­si­tiv­ity, as the site was an area of cul­tural sig­nif­i­cance, as well as a flood pro­tec­tion zone.

A de­ci­sion on whether or not the con­sents should be granted was ex­pected by the mid­dle of 2017.

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