Third bridge: get cracking, says lobby group

A Cambridge lobby group says it has come up with the ideal site for the town’s third bridge across the Waikato River – and it will be a major money saver.

The group analysed three sites before settling on a bridge which would cross the river at a point near Matos Segedin Drive and link to Cambridge central with a new road connecting with Alpha Street.

Heavy traffic heading in and out of Cambridge would follow a new route between the bridge and the Velodrome.

The bridge issue will be a debating point at next year’s local body elections and two Cambridge councillors have already called for the project to be fast tracked.

In 2018 the Waipā District Council put the third bridge in the 2029-2048 time frame in its long-term plan. The argument as recently as last year has been that the Fergusson Bridge is not used to capacity.

The 2021 LTP shows more urgency, committing council to completing a “Transportation Strategy” this month.

The council says: “if this indicates the need to move at pace and identify a third crossing, Council will use funding from operating reserves to designate and acquire land for a third bridge”.

Third bridge proponents say that such is the rapid growth of Cambridge and the pressure on its roading infrastructure, there is no question those steps should be taken now.

They say the new bridge will make significant time and money savings and reduce carbon emissions. They say that is all the more relevant because there will be tonnes of saving in carbon emissions as a result of shortening the runs for trucks carting sand for news roads and buildings.

“This bridge connection on the north side will allow town commuting traffic from Leamington and the Cambridge – Te Awamutu road to enter the town by Alpha Street at the top of the Main Street by major car parking,” the lobby group’s presentation says.

“This will allow the Victoria bridge to be taken out of service for major repairs with little affect to Cambridge residents. As C3 is filled with houses, the traffic bypassing Cambridge can be redirected direct to the roundabout at the Avantidrome on the collector road that is planned.

Lobby group member John Bary said the plans are the consequences of discussions between a collective of people who originally met in December 2020 to discuss the need for the third bridge.

“We all believe there is an urgency, due to the sorry state of the high bridge. If a third crossing was able to be achieved as soon as possible, repairs and maintenance could be carried out on the ‘High’ bridge without traffic difficulties for the whole community of Cambridge.”

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