Construction of Queenstown’s long-awaited two-lane Kawarau Falls Bridge could start as early as late this year.
Prime Minister John Key and Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee yesterday (Sunday) announced the acceleration of the $20 million-plus project, initially due several years’ away, just months out from the next election.
Construction of the bridge, immediately downstream of the existing dilapidated one-lane bridge, is expected to take two years.
The project is among 14 state highway projects being fast-tracked by the Government.
“National is making it easier, and safer, for Kiwis to get around the country and these project are a significant part of that plan,” local National Party candidate Todd Barclay says.
Waitaki National Party MP Jacqui Dean says the bridge has been cause for concern for Central Otago people for many years.
“As a bridge which connects Queenstown and Central Otago with the South, it is hugely important.
“It’s a bridge that is heavily used by tourists, holidaymakers, business and transport operators alike, not to mention the many home owners from Kelvin Heights who also use it on a daily basis.
“It’s an important access to The Remarkables skifield, with huge queues often forming at the bridge during the ski season, and it’s an important access for emergency services.”