The NZ Transport Agency is inviting people in Marlborough to participate during a month-long period of public engagement kicking off today on a proposal to move State Highway 1 traffic to a new bridge over the Ōpaoa River.
NZ Transport Agency regional director Raewyn Bleakley says the Transport Agency will be gathering public feedback from today through to Thursday 9 June on this preferred option.
The new 10.8m wide, two-lane bridge is planned to be built on the western side of the existing bridge, which has the least impact on surrounding properties, provides better pedestrian and cycle access, and requires less property acquisition. The existing bridge, which is a Heritage NZ Category 1 Heritage Place, would be used as a pedestrian and cycle bridge.
Investigation of the new bridge was launched in 2015 as part of the Government’s Accelerated Regional Roading Package. In January 2016, the Government announced its preference for this option to replace the existing SH1 route.
Ms Bleakley says it’s time to hear what the community thinks about the new bridge option.
“We’ve analysed all of the available options that would make this crucial part of the state highway more functional. The Government has also said that it wants to see a new bridge built. It’s now time for us to share the details of our investigation and ask how you feel about where we’re headed.
“As historically significant as the Opawa Bridge is, it does present us with two key problems as a state highway route. It is too narrow and not suitable for current traffic requirements, especially large freight trucks which are a key part of the nation’s strategic state highway programme. Also, it has inadequate seismic resistance, and it is susceptible to damage from heavy floods.
“I’m pleased the option we’re presenting includes keeping the existing bridge for pedestrians and cyclists. Although the Transport Agency won’t be undertaking any seismic strengthening of the bridge, it will still be important to walkers and cyclists.”
Materials including a feedback form can be found at the Blenheim and Picton Libraries, the Marlborough District Council Customer Service Centre in Blenheim, as well as at the Marlborough Roads office. Two public information sessions will be held in May:
Background information is now available on www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/opawa-bridge-replacement(external link).