Boult opens new road with Jag
Most mayors use scissors to cut the ribbon. Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult uses a 1955 Jaguar.
Boult and wife Karen became the first people to drive Queenstown’s long-awaited Hawthorne Dr on Thursday morning in a borrowed Jaguar XK150S, declaring the first stage of the road officially open.
He was eager to point out the council had kept its promise of opening the road before ski season opened ‘‘properly’’. The first ski field opened two weeks ago.
It is expected use of the road will divert traffic from the congested BP roundabout, where SH6 meets Frankton Rd.
The 2km stretch of road runs from the Remarkables Park shopping area in Frankton, around the eastern end of the Queenstown Airport runway and joins SH6 via Glenda Dr, in the Frankton industrial area.
The full length of the road is projected to be completed once it is connected with SH6 via the Pak n Save roundabout in December.
Boult said 60 staff had clocked up 48,000 man hours building the $22 million road.
The road would make a ‘‘huge’’ difference to traffic problems in Frankton. However, it was ‘‘just one part of the puzzle,’’ he said.
New Zealand Transport Agency southern director Jim Harland said the vibrant Queenstown community had ‘‘Auckland congestion problems with a lower ratepayer base’’.
Several developments are in the pipeline to ease at-times crippling congestion in the resort.
The Queenstown Airport began its new Park and Ride service simultaneously on Thursday, to clear parked cars from Kawarau Rd and residential areas of Frankton.
The council and NZTA have recently committed to moving illegally parked vehicles off SH6 near the airport.
Traffic has also started operating on a new two-laned section of Frankton Rd, at the BP roundabout.
The $750,000 NZTA project was a small but significant contributor to a wider improvement programme to get traffic moving smoothly in the Frankton area and to reduce delays for drivers, an agency spokesman said.
A new public transport system with $2 bus rides is scheduled to start operating within three months and the new two-laned bridge at Kawarau Falls is expected to open in December.
Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult and wife Karen officially opened Hawthorne Dr in Frankton.