Risky roundabout

Safety concern: Councillor Alexa Forbes

A Queenstown councillor’s crying foul over a CBD roundabout she says is dangerous for children.

And it looks like NZ Transport Agency red tape may once again be holding up a solution. The Man Street roundabout was the scene of a nasty crash between a car and motorcycle on January 21 that left the motorcyclist seriously injured.

In late October last year, a pedestrian was also seriously injured after being hit by a car near the roundabout.

Councillor Alexa Forbes says she’s concerned about children trying to walk across the roundabout as they try to get between the CBD and nearby Queenstown Primary School.

“There is no safe way for children to be able to walk to town to meet mum and dad, or else to get off the bus that stops at O’Connells,” she says.

“We’ve got a really poor example of community severance.”

She says the council’s bypass project, previously known as Inner Links, had solutions including wide, shared paths for pedestrians and cyclists, and a “treatment” to enable safer crossing.

But that project has been stalled due to funding negotiations.

Back in December, Mountain SceneĀ revealed the bypass project is being held up by red tape, with even a business case not expected to be wrapped up until the end of the year.

The long-touted arterial route project is planned across three construction stages.

It would run from Melbourne Street to Henry St in stage one, then on to Man St in stage two, and finally to Thompson St in stage three.

According to Queenstown’s council, the roads are due for completion in June 2022, June 2023 and June 2024 respectively.

It has assumed NZTA will fork out 80 per cent, or $111.6 million, of the total cost.

When contacted about Forbes’ concerns, NZTA southern media boss Frances Adank referred SceneĀ to a press release announcing the new name for a partnership between council, the agency and Otago Regional Council.

“It reiterates the position: The bigger Queenstown transport picture needs to be looked at holistically which is why the QLDC, ORC and the Transport Agency are working together on transport solutions for the region.”

Adank says planning works continue to identify solutions throughout Queenstown and Frankton.