Ques­tions over bridge plan

The Southland Times - - News - Rachael Kelly

Some sub­mit­ters to the Gore Dis­trict Coun­cil’s 10 Year Plan have ques­tioned the need for a re­place­ment bridge at Pyra­mid near Rivers­dale, say­ing the bridge cross­ing the Waikaia River at Wen­don about five min­utes drive away is suf­fi­cient.

Mo­torists are us­ing the Wen­don bridge until a re­place­ment is built af­ter a 50 me­tre sec­tion of the Pyra­mid bridge col­lapsed when the Mataura River flooded in Feb­ru­ary.

The rails on the wooden sin­gle-laned bridge at Pyra­mid were of­ten dam­aged by trucks or agri­cul­tural equip­ment cross­ing it, and traf­fic has in­creased on it in re­cent years be­cause tourists have been di­rected across it if trav­el­ling be­tween Te Anau and Dunedin us­ing GPS.

Own­er­ship of the bridge is shared be­tween the NZ Trans­port Agency and the Gore and South­land dis­trict coun­cils. The trans­port agency has com­mit­ted $4 mil­lion to build­ing a re­place­ment sin­gle-lane bridge, while the coun­cils would pick up 50 per cent each of the re­main­der.

There have been calls for a re­place­ment bridge to be two-laned, while the Gore Dis­trict Coun­cil favours build­ing a widened sin­gle-lane bridge.

It has con­sulted with the pub­lic about both op­tions in it’s 10 Year Plan, and re­ceived 106 sub­mis­sions in favour of a widened sin­gle lane op­tion and 55 in favour of a two-lane op­tion.

How­ever, sev­eral sub­mit­ters said there was no need for a re­place­ment to be built, as the bridge at Wen­don could be used in­stead.

Diane David­son-Watts said ‘‘given the large cost re­quired and that there is an al­ter­na­tive bridge five min­utes away, I am sure there must be bet­ter uses for this money.’’

Ed­ward Dow­den said in his sub­mis­sion he would like to see ‘‘time given to see how much ef­fect the ab­sence of a bridge has on the com­mu­nity at large’’.

Mark Dean said the Wen­don bridge pro­vides an ad­e­quate al­ter­na­tive cross­ing, as did Colin Smyth in his sub­mis­sion.

Mal­colm Smith urged the coun­cil to use the ex­ist­ing bridge at Wai­pounamu [Wen­don], say­ing the move would also di­rect tourist traf­fic through Gore in­stead of Otama.

‘‘It seems a waste of money when there is a bridge just down the road.’’

Robin Steven­son said the Wai­pounamu [Wen­don] bridge was safer.

Sub­mis­sions to the plan were heard yes­ter­day and a de­lib­er­a­tive meet­ing will be held on May 28.

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