Bridge site revisited

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A group of Ashburton citizens is calling a public meeting on March 31 to revisit the location of Ashburton’s planned second bridge.

The Ashburton District Council’s preferred location for a second bridge over the Ashburton River is at the end of Chalmers Avenue connecting to Tinwald but some people think it would be better from the end of West Street to Melcombe Street.

Group spokesman Bob McDonald said council was about to begin public consultation on its long-term plan so it was a good time to test current support for the Chalmers Avenue option. “This is an opportunity to have another discussion on the location of the second bridge.”

The meeting will be held at the Ashburton Intermediate School hall, starting at 7pm. Mayor Neil Brown and councillors will be invited to attend.

Mr McDonald said the West Street option would keep traffic and people in Ashburton’s central business area.

“People might not be interested, but it is worth a discussion.”

A second bridge will ease congestion on the existing bridge and on State Highway 1 throughout Tinwald. Council has begun planning, including putting a case for funding to the NZ Transport Agency and construction could be under way by 2025.

Organisers of the public meeting say they want to hear all opinions, including those supporting the Chalmers Avenue options.

Council transportation studies show the bulk of traffic on the bridge during peak times is local traffic – less than 30 per cent is through traffic on the highway.