A $6 million project to improve safety at a notorious intersection near Queenstown has been given the green light.
The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has announced the right turn out of Tucker Beach Road onto State Highway 6 will be replaced with a slip road, accessed via the existing road under the Shotover River Bridge.
The project has been praised by Queenstown Mayor Jim Boult and the local residents’ group, who say it will “dramatically” reduce the risk of injury or death for road users.
Director regional relationships Jim Harland said at the same time, water and waste water services will be laid in the highway as part of the future infrastructure to support the further development of Quail Rise.
The construction work will be tendered this week, with the aim of having the slip road operational by Christmas.
The total project is estimated to cost about $6 million, which includes $1.6 million from Queenstown Lakes District Council for their infrastructure work.
Quail Rise residents’ spokeswoman Kerry Dunlop said people were “delighted” the work was going ahead after many years of growing traffic and increasing difficulty turning out of Tucker Beach Road.
“The underpass and slip road will dramatically reduce the risk of injury or death for cyclists, car and bus commuters.”
Boult said the decision took longer than he would have liked, but he was pleased with the end result.
“This is great news and gratifying for the council which has continued to place considerable emphasis on the need for this decision.”
During the local body election campaign in October 2016, the Quail Rise/ Tucker Beach Rd intersection was raised as an issue of great concern to residents, he said.
“The new council engaged with the Transport Agency to have this treated as a priority project in late 2016.
“Subsequent growth of traffic volumes, and unfortunately a number of accidents at the corner, have continued to focus the council on working with the Transport Agency to reach a solution.”
He praised NZTA for giving the project the tick of approval.
“The local community also made a firm stand in the interests of safety and they too should be recognised for their efforts.”