03 August 2012
Ashburton District Council in New Zealand is to resume public consultation over a second urban road bridge across the Ashburton River, where two preferred access routes have now been identified.
“Although a second urban bridge would not be built for 10 to 15 years, in resuming the consultation the Council is looking to finalise the location of the access route for the second urban bridge,” said mayor Angus McKay. “This is to ensure future planning and development can take proper account of a second urban bridge.”
The Council had identified a total of 13 bridge route options in a report that was the basis of earlier public consultation carried out in 2010. Submissions and ideas were then taken on board and the council also commissioned further technical studies. Of the 13 access routes identified for the initial public consultation, two have been identified as providing the most benefits in improving road, cycling and pedestrian access.
The new bridge would ease highway congestion, provide alternative routes into and from the town centre and also serve as an alternative route for emergency services should the highway bridge be out of action for any reason. “Events relating to the earthquakes in Canterbury over the past two years have shown that relying on a single major access route like the Ashburton bridge is too great a risk to a community’s well-being,” said council operations manager Rob Rouse. At the moment, they would have to go 56km from Ashburton to cross the river.