January start for access road work tipped

Construction on Queenstown's long-awaited Eastern Access road, which would open up the Frankton Flats and rid State Highway 6 of a notoriously dangerous intersection, could start by January.

The post-Christmas building start was mentioned as a "best- case scenario" in Tuesday's Queenstown Lakes District Council strategy committee meeting. In 2009 the project was valued at $6.46 million.

Acting general manager of policy and planning Alyson Hutton said a consent order had been issued by the Environment Court on the back of a notice of requirement lodged with the court from the council and the NZ Transport Agency.

The notice of requirement had previously been appealed by Shotover Park, and Queenstown Gateway had attached itself to the appeal, but the court overruled the appeal. The issue of the consent order had cleared the way for funding, design and land acquisition to take place.

Council transport manager Denis Mander yesterday told The Southland Times that project funding was dependent on what was received from the Government's $12.3 billion roading package, unveiled by Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee yesterday.

"The project will be joint-funded by the council, which has a budget of $3.4m and by the NZ Transport Agency," he said.

"The last cost estimate of $6.46m was completed in 2009, and there is a possibility that price might have come down since then."

Although the crash black spot of the Glenda Dr-State Highway 6 intersection would still be in existence, it would be accessible only by left-turning traffic coming into Queenstown from across the Shotover River, once Eastern Access Rd was completed. Glenda Drive would be accessible from Queenstown by a road, so far known only as "road 2", that would come off Eastern Access Rd.

The road's main entry point, a roundabout, would be built about 200m towards Queenstown from the current Glenda Dr intersection, Mr Mander said.

grant.bryant@stl.co.nz

The Southland Times