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Frankton traffic improvements an immediate success

Frankton traffic improvements an immediate success

Latest figures show the stage one opening of Hawthorne Drive, alongside several other changes implemented last month have made a significant improvement to traffic and congestion issues across Frankton.

The opening of Hawthorne Drive immediately improved drive times between the BP Roundabout and Queenstown Airport, most notably during the afternoon peak traffic. Travel times during the peak period average three minutes, greatly reduced from the previous 10-20 minutes, and a time saving of between 7-17 minutes for this stretch of road.

Queenstown Lake Mayor Jim Boult is delighted to see such an improvement in such a short space of time. “This roading link has been a long time in the making and it’s fantastic to see it making such a difference to motorists. This is a step in the right direction and shows the impact right-sizing our infrastructure can have on the day-to-day life in Queenstown.”

Timed to coincide with the opening of Hawthorne Drive was the removal of parking along State Highway 6, the implementation of increased parking restrictions in residential Frankton, the opening of an airport Park and Ride facility and changes to the BP Roundabout to improve traffic flows.

Cars parked along SH6, which had become a traffic hazard, are now a thing of the past with no cars remaining along this stretch of road. A dedicated parking officer has been put in place to ensure people adhere to parking restrictions across the Frankton area.

At the same time as parking was removed from SH6, a dedicated airport Park and Ride facility was opened on Brookes Road. This was developed in partnership with QAC and QLDC and has seen immediate uptake. There is currently space for 150 cars, and this is set to double to 300 spaces when construction on Hawthorne Drive is completed in December.

QAC Chief Executive Colin Keel is very pleased with the numbers of vehicles using the park and ride. “We’ve had over 344 people use the facility since it opened on June 22 and the most we’ve had at one time was 147 vehicles in one day, last weekend. Feedback has been great thus far and we’ve seen a mix of users from Wanaka, Dunedin, Cromwell and other regional centres.”

Further, the New Zealand Transport Agency has upgraded the BP roundabout by installing a merge lane for Queenstown bound traffic. This is a small but significant contributor to a wider improvement programme to get traffic moving smoothly in the Frankton area.

Jim Harland NZ Transport Agency Director Regional Relationships, says it is great to see the Hawthorne Drive project and others like the BP Roundabout extra lane, delivered in recent months, making a noticeable difference to easing traffic congestion in Frankton. “The fact that this has happened so quickly is an added bonus.”

Mr Harland said these projects are part of a wider transport improvement programme for the Wakatipu Basin involving QAC, QLDC, the Transport Agency and the Otago Regional Council. More projects within this programme will come on stream by the end of this year to get traffic moving even more efficiently in the Queenstown and Frankton areas. They include a new subsidised public transport service, enabling everyone to travel for a flat $2 fare with GoCard.

Mayor Boult believes this is an example of what can be achieved through a positive inter-agency working relationship. “This has been a huge project and it is fantastic to see the immediate results that can be achieved when we all work together for the benefit of both residents and visitors.”

“Further improvements coming later this year and early next will have add to the improvements we’ve already seen. These include the opening of the new two lane Kawarau Bridge, the completion of Hawthorne Drive, further work to the BP Roundabout and significant improvements to public transport across the Wakatipu.”

“While there is still a great deal ahead of us, the momentum is beginning to shift in our favour and we’re beginning to see significant improvements, it’s certainly an exciting time for the Queenstown Lakes District.”

ENDS

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