Go-ahead for Hawthorne Drive

Central Otago Mirror - - CONVERSATIONS - RHYS CHAM­BER­LAIN

Trans­port Min­is­ter Si­mon Bridges says Queen­stown is one the few places around the coun­try where traf­fic con­ges­tion is­sues need im­me­di­ate at­ten­tion.

‘‘We un­der­stand the is­sues here. We un­der­stand the frus­tra­tions. We’ve got a strong pro­gramme,’’ he said

The Min­is­ter was in the re­sort to ‘‘turn the first sod’’ on the lon­gawaited East­ern Ac­cess Road - now Hawthorne Drive - in Frank­ton.

‘‘There’s a small num­ber of ar­eas in New Zealand that are high growth ... but Queen­stown’s right in there,’’ he said. ’’I think for a lot of lo­cals now, it’s a bit frus­trat­ing. We get that. We cer­tainly un­der­stand that. [We] need to re­ally get on with them and tackle them.’’

The $21.8 mil­lion road - in the pipe­line for al­most a decade and to be com­pleted by the end of next year - was the first of sev­eral projects in ac­tion, pro­posed and planned to deal with traf­fic con­ges­tion. Oth­ers in­cluded the Kawa­rau Bridge re­de­vel­op­ment, park and ride schemes and cy­cle trails, Bridges said.

‘‘It’s go­ing to pro­vide a much bet­ter by­pass. It’s go­ing to be a real game changer in terms of re­duc­ing the con­ges­tion is­sues you’ve got here and im­prov­ing ac­cess,’’ he said.

Bridges also an­nounced work would be­gin on a sec­ond lane on the west­ern side of the BP round­about in early 2017.

RHYS CHAM­BER­LAIN

Queen­stown Lakes mayor Jim Boult, left, and Trans­port Min­is­ter Si­mon Bridges turn the first sod at Hawthorne Drive.

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