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"Significant and highly recognisable": An artist's impression shows the first iteration of a planned Ballarat St overbridge

By GUY WILLIAMS

A pedestrian overbridge spanning 25 metres over Queenstown’s town centre bypass road’s the most striking feature of a just-completed draft plan of the project.

Graphic renders of the Ballarat Street overbridge, which would link the steep street’s upper and lower sections, are contained in a draft ‘urban design and land scape plan’ for the bypass road’s first stage.

Construction of the first stage, which will link and upgrade Melbourne and Henry Sts, is supposed to start on September 27.

Mountain Scene obtained a copy of the draft plan, dated July 22, presented to the project’s community and mana whenua liaison groups for feedback last Friday.

It’s been prepared by Ka Huanui a Tahuna, the new name for the alliance of organisations delivering roading improvement projects in the resort: Waka Kotahi, Queenstown’s council and iwi.

Council media man Sam White says there’s still a lot of work to be done on the plan, including working with a Maori artist on artistic features, considering feedback from the liaison groups and technical considerations.

‘‘It’s really important to note the design of the pedestrian bridge is in the very early stages, and was not intended for wider public release until it had been developed further.’’

The final plan’s expected to be presented to council for approval on August 27, he says.

Visually prominent: The bridge is intended to provide safe access for pedestrians and cyclists between Queenstown Hill and the town centre

The draft plan’s authors say the overbridge, which features an elevator, will be the ‘‘most significant and highly recognisable urban design element’’ in the first stage, ‘‘and  potentially the entire arterials corridor’’.

They note its ‘‘visual prominence’’ and bulk, and proximity to nearby homes, means it could have ‘‘negative impacts’’.

Its purpose is to provide safe access for pedestrians and cyclists crossing the bypass road from Queenstown Hill to the town centre.

It’s also needed because of the closure of Ballarat, Beetham and Malaghan Sts to ‘‘vehicular through traffic’’.

The plan shows Malaghan St having only a pedestrian connection to the bypass road’s first stage, while motorists on Beetham St will only be able to turn left into the road from its uphill side; the lower section of the street will have only pedestrian access.

Traffic lights are planned on Sydney St.

guy.williams@scene.co.nz