An upgrade of the intersection of State Highways 6 and 84 between Wānaka, Lake Hāwea and Cromwell has been brought forward, after the NZ Transport Agency’s request to include the project in the regional land transport plan for 2020-21 was approved by the Otago Regional Transport Committee.
The decision to expedite a roundabout at the Mount Iron intersection coincided with the resource consent hearing held on Tuesday and Wednesday last week for the development of Mount Iron Junction, which would build accommodation units for up to 90 seasonal and long-term workers, next to the intersection.
Roy Johnston, Team Lead Safety Engineers, stated that, while the development application led NZTA to review the intersection, “the main impetus for bringing forward the project is safety for road users and all people at the intersection.” Johnston also acknowledged the intersection posed an “increased safety risk” given the increase in traffic over the last few years.
Steve Schikker, director of Mount Iron Junction Ltd, said that whilst “pleased from a community safety point of view that NZTA have brought forward the timeline… this does not mean our resource consent application will be successful.”
The Queenstown Lakes District Council recommended the panel decline the application at the resource consent hearing, but Schikker felt the panel was impressed with the “solutions-based application,” the “detail in design,” and the “very strong community backing” for the project.
The outcome of the hearing will be announced in six weeks’ time. There is currently no exact timeline for the roundabout’s development, pending consents and agreements.