Five years on, Sir Tim Wallis Drive opens

The Sir Tim Wallis Drive roundabout from the air. Photo credit: Willowridge Developments

It's only been five years in the making, but Sir Tim Wallis Drive in the Three Parks commercial area was officially opened last Friday by Sir Tim Wallis and his five grandchildren

After a delay of two months because of lockdown the roundabout connecting State Highway 84 and Sir Tim Wallis Drive saw a bevvy of locals and workers celebrate the opening, with Sir Tim Wallis cutting a ribbon with his grandchildren and developer Allan Dippie driving his quirky vintage tractor along the route as the first vehicle.

Although traffic has started using the $4million roundabout, sealing work will not be completed until September.

Work on a pedestrian and cycle underpass next to the roundabout will start in the next few weeks.

Three Parks developer Willowridge Developments Ltd met the cost of the roundabout and the NZ Transport Agency will fund the underpass.

Dippie, director of Willowridge Developments, said the route was a vital route for the town.

He said Sir Tim Wallis Drive would provide critical access from “ that side of town and free up some of the existing congested routes into Wānaka.

“We started  several years ago from the Ballantyne Road end to connect to the new Wānaka Recreation Centre (WRC),” Dippie said

 That first stage was completed in July 2016 in time for the opening of the WRC.

Then it was upgraded with footpaths and cycle lanes before being extended to the Three Parks New World supermarket. 

The main road entrance to Three Parks was more complex than the Ballantyne Road entrance, requiring the rebuilding of the Mt Iron car park; the construction of a two-lane roundabout and cycle lanes and an underpass.

Work began two years ago with the construction of a large car park built by Willowridge free of charge for the Department of Conservation’s Mt Iron walking track users.

 “The roundabout was complex design wise, and we had to deal with the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA),” Dippie said. “

“Construction was the easy part - until coronavirus hit and that delayed things as it did with everything else,’ he said. “But now it’s all complete the whole thing has been fun.” 

Read edition 979 of the Wānaka Sun here.

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