November, 2017Queenstown Lakes District Council is primed to take ownership of the
historic Kawarau Bridge when it is decommissioned as a state highway.
Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult has confirmed it is in talks with
bridge owners, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
(MBIE), which currently leases it to the NZ Transport Agency.
The council planned to develop it as a recreational asset for the
The single-lane bridge is being retired next year in favour of a $20
million two-lane replacement beside it.
Details still needed thrashed out, but Mr Boult said it made sense for
the council to own it in the "longer term".
MBIE communications adviser Sean Martin confirmed it would retain
management and responsibility for the bridge until a final agreement
was reached. Mr Boult said there were concerns around the state of the
"We want some work done on the bridge and we want assurances about
its condition before we accept it, because we dont want to inherit a
"But we do see it being developed as a recreational asset for the
community both as a walking and cycle way."
Wakatipu Heritage Trust trustee and former district councillor Gillian
Macleod said plans should include new lighting, seating and history
panels, and it should be like New Yorks High Line, a public area created
on a former New York Central Railroad.
Transport agency senior project manager Phil Dowsett said he had
commissioned a conservation plan and had been been given the job of
leaving the bridge "fit for purpose as a walking and cycling route".
Mr Dowsett said the bridge would be handed over to MBIE in June.
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