Turn-off turnaround

Dicey: The Tucker Beach Road-State Highway 6 intersection

Road chiefs are bowing to pressure for a new slip road at a hazardous Queenstown junction.

NZ Transport Agency announced yesterday it will put the wheels in motion for an upgrade to the Tucker Beach Road-State Highway 6 intersection, at Quail Rise.

Agency bigwig Ian Duncan says: “The preferred option is to investigate using the existing link beneath the Shotover River Bridge to make it easier and safer for people driving from Tucker Beach Road towards Frankton.”

VIDEO: Solution in sight

It means rather than waiting to turn right across speeding traffic on SH6, motorists and cyclists will travel under the bridge and join the road from the other side.

That’s a suggestion first made by resident Greg Thompson in Mountain Scene back in 2014. Since then, there’s been a sharp rise in the volume of traffic on the road due to new housing and retail developments nearby.

Mayor Jim Boult began pushing for a solution in January.

And in February, residents Thompson, Kerry Dunlop and cyclist Peter Aitkinson wrote to the Scene “appalled” at the agency’s attitude.

Thompson says: “Since then we’ve met with Ian Duncan twice.

“We went door to door with a petition, getting about 450 signatures.

“So they’ve appreciated there’s serious concern among residents.

“And their own figures show it has the fastest growth in volume of any state highway in New Zealand.”

Duncan’s bidding for business-case funding, and, if successful, could be in a position to tender for construction work by October.

Thompson says the agency told residents the underpass and slip road is the only real option.

“It didn’t take much persuasion really – they’ve acknowledged there’s a problem at that intersection and they need to do something about it.

“It’s great news.”

The agency is already in the process of reducing the speed limit on the road from 100kmh to 80kmh by the end of this month.

Boult welcomed the announcement saying it’s encouraging to see the slip road being investigated as a “safe, permanent solution”.

Queenstown’s MP Todd Barclay also welcomed the news and praised Boult for his advocacy.

Crash figures from 2011 to 2016 show 18 reported crashes on the section of highway, resulting in three serious and 13 minor injuries.