Pedestrian bridge design to be simplified to lessen cost

Bold designs for a Christchurch pedestrian and cycle bridge have been rejected because the city council says it cannot afford the cost of about $4.4 million.

As the proposed Halswell bridge will be one of the first that visitors entering the city on the southern motorway will encounter, the council had been considering giving it a designer twist, but that option has been dropped.

Instead, a no-frills bridge will be built at a cost of $3.3m.

The council had $2.8m booked for the Carrs Rd project, but a slight change in the gradient of the bridge has pushed the estimated construction costs up by more than $500,000.

Cr Jimmy Chen tried to convince his colleagues that they should spend more and get a "modern, statement" bridge for the city.

Cr Jamie Gough said he was sympathetic to the idea and would support it if the council had unlimited funds, but its finances were stretched.

Cr Barry Corbett said the basic bridge would still be an impressive structure.

"This is great. Let's do it. Let's get the bridge there," he said.

The bridge will provide an important connection across the newly constructed southern motorway along the alignment of Carrs Rd for cyclists and pedestrians and will support the communities planned for either side of the new Southern motorway.

It will also form part of the walking and cycleway network proposed in the southwest area plan, which supports the Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy and integrates with the wider pedestrian and cycle networks included in the Christchurch Transport Plan.

The council hopes the NZ Transport Agency will pick up as much as 54 per cent of the cost of the bridge. If that happens, staff have been instructed to investigate whether additional design elements could be incorporated within the approved budget.

The Press