A section of Wanaka's Ballantyne Road will receive a $6.4 million improvement, including road sealing and a one-metre wide shoulder for pedestrians and cyclists.
The road's upgrade to meet modern safety standards will also include a low-speed environment with paint markings, plantings or other "traffic calming" methods within the project.
Queenstown Lakes District Council general manager property and infrastructure Peter Hansby said the NZ Transport Agency agreed to fund 50 percent of the project.
“Upgrading any legacy road is a difficult balancing act," said Hansby, who is thrilled with the news. "We have worked very closely with the Transport Agency and many people in the Wanaka community to agree [on] a preferred design that strikes a balance between safety, community requirements, active travel and affordability."
The construction is scheduled to start in 2020-21 after a detailed design has been completed and additional community input collected. The news comes as a big relief to many locals, including Mt Barker residents who have been pushing for an upgrade to this section of the road for nearly 10 years.
Wanaka Community Board (WCB) member Ed Taylor said the project decision is a victory for the perseverance of the Mt Barker Residents Association who, he said, refused to take “no” for an answer. "At my first meeting out at Mt Barker, I was told in no uncertain terms that their number one priority was getting the road sealed because it was a dangerous road," said Taylor. "WCB chairman Quentin Smith and I have worked hard to keep the residents in the loop as much as possible. We involved them in meetings with council staff late last year as the business case was being prepared.”