Future ferry plans to be shared with community

A public information session is being held this Thursday so Picton residents can find out more about plans to replace the current Interislander ferries with two larger ships, and reconfigure the Picton Ferry precinct to accommodate them.

Port Marlborough and KiwiRail are working closely on the project, together with the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), and Marlborough District Council.

The three current Interislander ferries will soon need replacement because of their age, and KiwiRail is in the early stages of planning to replace these with two larger rail-enabled ferries, targeted to be in operation by 2024/25.

“Our Interislander ferries provide an essential national link for both road and rail networks, as extensions of State Highway One and the main trunk railway,” says KiwiRail’s General Manger Interislander, Walter Rushbrook.

“We are planning for the future to ensure we have the capacity needed for future growth in passenger and vehicle numbers and in freight volumes.

“Larger ships will require changes to the ferry precinct including vessel berths, and the landside facilities. We also need to understand the interfaces with rail and road transport routes and if changes might be needed there.

“While we’re still at the very early feasibility stage of planning this project, we are keen to share what is known so far with the community and get their feedback.”

“All project partners understand the significance of the project to the town of Picton and wider Marlborough district.  We’re committed to sustainable development practices that deliver balanced social, environmental and economic benefits”, says Port Marlborough Chief Executive Rhys Welbourn.

“In Picton, redevelopment brings opportunities to better connect the ferry precinct with town, to re-think the location of cruise berths, better showcase Picton and Marlborough, and to generally take advantage of the benefits of new investment in KiwiRail’s Cook Strait operations.”

Those wanting to learn more can talk to the project team at our public open day at the Picton Public Library on Thursday 12 December from 4pm to 7pm.