Pre-Christmas celebration new Kawarau Falls Bridge

Queenstown people will soon have a one-off opportunity to put their best foot forward and walk across the new State Highway 6 Kawarau Falls Bridge at Frankton.

'A community walk-over of the new bridge is being held as part a project milestone event on Sunday, 17 December at 10 am,' says NZ Transport Agency Senior Project Manager, Phil Dowsett. 'This will mark one lane of the new bridge opening to traffic for the busy holiday season.'

Construction of this two-lane bridge(external link) will shorten journey times in Queenstown’s Frankton Flats area and provide better access to developments south of Frankton, including as far afield as Invercargill and Milford Sound. The project is being delivered by the Transport Agency on behalf of the Government.

Photo taken in September:

'With such high interest in this bridge, we felt it was important to provide an opportunity for people to walk across it before one lane opens permanently to traffic,” says Mr Dowsett. 'We expect a good turnout for the event, as many people will want to be part of a piece of local history, by being among the first to walk over the new bridge.

'There is plenty of interest in the community walk-over ahead of the official opening in early April, when both lanes of the bridge will be carrying traffic. The walk-over is an opportunity for the Transport Agency and bridge contractor McConnell Dowell to thank people for their patience while the bridge has been built over the past two years.'

Mr Dowsett says to keep traffic moving over the busy Christmas-New Year holiday break, two-way traffic flows will be in place across the Kawarau Falls from Sunday afternoon, 17 December, using the existing heritage bridge and the southbound lane of the new bridge.

This temporary measure ends on 8 January, 2018. After that, all traffic shifts on to the southbound lane of the new bridge, with the heritage bridge closing permanently to all vehicles. This will allow completion of the northern approach to the new bridge including underground utilities (water, power, stormwater drains) and the partially constructed pedestrian and cycling underpass to the state highway. The heritage bridge closure will also see a start on converting it to a walking and cycling route that will form part of the Queenstown Trails Network, he says.

The two-lane Kawarau Falls Bridge is a contributor to a wider transport improvement plan for the Wakatipu Basin involving the NZ Transport Agency, Queenstown Lakes District Council, Otago Regional Council and Queenstown Airport Corporation. This plan aims to tackle the transport issues facing the Wakatipu Basin, stemming from strong tourism growth and developments associated with this visitor boom.

Kawarau Falls Bridge project pages: link)