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Review into Traffic Calming Measures at Cardrona

Review into Traffic Calming Measures at Cardrona

A review by the Queenstown Lakes District Council into the construction of traffic safety improvements at Cardona in December 2013 has found that, while proper processes were followed, there were instances where better judgment in the implementation of the project could have avoided unnecessary costs. The review was ordered by Chief Executive Adam Feeley after a traffic slowing ‘rumble zone’ had to be removed immediately after installation because it was found to be a safety hazard.

QLDC Mayor Vanessa van Uden said, “There is no suggestion that any staff member or contractor wilfully disregarded safety issues or failed to followed required processes in the design or construction of the project. However good intentions are not enough when it comes to spending public money. The errors of judgment need to be acknowledged and, more importantly, the public need to be assured that steps have been taken to minimise the risk of this occurring again.

Mayor van Uden said that the project, including the budget, had been approved by the Wanaka Community Board; the proposed solution had been advanced in keeping with the Cardona Village Design Guidelines; and the NZ Transport Agency had provided 100% of the funding for half of the work and 53% for the remaining costs of the project.    

“While the proposal of a “rumble zone” of river stones was intended to be an effective and visually pleasing solution, the novelty of the solution was such that alternative options should have been considered in greater detail and presented to the Community Board for consideration. The decision to raise the level of the river stones during the construction stage, exacerbated these safety risks, and was a matter that should have been discussed more widely within Council prior to the action being taken, she said.”

Mr Feeley, agreed that the public interest in managing costs demanded greater care with the information and advice provided to Council, and noted that steps had already been taken arising from the inquiry.

These include:
•                      Changes to the format of reports provided to Council, committees and Community Board, requiring issues of public consultation; matters of significant and project options to be more fully reported;
•                      Clarification to financial and other delegations and authorities, and staff being required to raise material design changes with the Chief Engineer;
•                      Safety audits prior to construction being required even for minor works where there is a non-standard design;
•                      Improved processes by contractors to senior managers on managing and communicating design changes.

“I am satisfied that the issues which have arisen are not symptomatic of any systemic failures. This was a one-off lapse of judgment from an otherwise professional team which is committed to deliver high quality and cost effective transport projects, and the lessons learned have been incorporated to operational processes.”

ENDS

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