Prime Minister Bill English visits $22 million Kawarau Falls Bridge construction site in Queenstown
Prime Minister Bill English and Transport Minister Simon Bridges have visited the construction site of the $22 million double-lane Kawarau Falls Bridge project in Queenstown.
Ministers were updated on the progress of the Kawarau Falls Bridge which will replace the 90-year-old single lane bridge, when they arrived to the resort on Thursday afternoon.
English said the long wait on the Kawarau Falls project completion would be worthwhile.
"There's been an argument going on there for a long time, but it's very timely because you've got big traffic growth now and the economics of the bridge are improving significantly each year," he said.
He said that with the anticipated double digit growth of traffic in Queenstown it made sense for the bridge to be double-laned.
English was also sure the bridge would look better than it does on the pictures.
"You always wanted it to look right beside the old one, which has been such a nice part of the local environment but they seem to be getting in a lot of trouble to get it aesthetically pleasing."
The Prime Minister cancelled a planned earlier appointment at Queenstown's Five Mile development to make an unscheduled trip Christchurch visit on Thursday.
English will be meeting Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in the resort on Friday.
Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay joined the ministers on the Kawarau bridge site visit and said the project was a part of the Government's Accelerated Regional Roading Package (ARRP).
The two-lane bridge was a huge roading infrastructure project for the Queenstown area.
"It was great to meet with the Kawarau Falls Bridge team, including Jim Washbrooke from McConnell Dowell Constructors Ltd and NZTA Southern Business Unit manager Ian Duncan, and get an update on how construction is progressing.
"The visit also gave the Prime Minister a real idea of the significant pressures on Queenstown's infrastructure right now," he said.