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Tasman: Focus on speed brings changes to Queen Street work

Focus on speed brings changes to Queen Street work programme

The Queen Street Upgrade to increase central Richmond’s flood resilience has moved into its next phase.

Stage 1 of the upgrade, from Gladstone Road to Noel Leeming, is complete and vehicle access to and from Gladstone Road and McIndoe Place was restored over the weekend. Noel Leeming is currently accessible from a temporary carpark entrance off Queen Street.

The upgrade, which replaces ageing and undersized pipe infrastructure under Queen Street and lowers the centre of the road to reduce the risk to businesses of flooding, has now moved into the area from Noel Leemings’ temporary carpark entrance to just past Sundial Square. This means vehicle access to Queen Street from Cambridge Street and Croucher Street is currently closed.

Tasman District Council project manager Jeff Robinson said the project was running behind schedule and this had forced the project team to change the way it approached aspects of the upgrade.

“Originally we limited contractor Downer to working in a single stage at a time to reduce the overall disruption to the street. Speed is our key focus now, however, so Downer are working across both stages 2 and 3 (from Noel Leeming up to ASB Bank) which is a more efficient way of working for them and allows faster progress.

“We’re aware this is more disruptive for businesses and the public and we sincerely apologise for that. However, the message from businesses to us is pretty clear and that is ‘complete the work as quickly as possible and move on’.
“Downer are also continuing to work at night on the footpaths, and on Saturdays to keep up momentum.”

Jeff said footpaths were open for pedestrian access to shops during the day, and encouraged people not to be put off by the road works. “There’s heaps of parking available in the public carparks off the ring road and your favourite shops and cafes are just a short walk from there.”

As well as essential infrastructure upgrades, the project will see the street surface remodelled to offer a pedestrian-focussed public space. Narrower vehicle lanes will encourage a slower speed traffic environment, with a new 30kmh supporting speed limit now in place. Wider footpaths with no kerb and channel, along with plantings and street furniture are also part of the improvements.

Stage 2, from Noel Leeming up to the Cambridge Street intersection, is expected to open in mid-September and will offer the public the first taste of the new streetscape, Jeff said. The intersection will be opened as soon as possible after the completion of Stage 2.

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