Questions over bridge plan
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.