First of 124 trees felled to make way for $250m SH6 works

by Kim Bowden - Apr 12, 2024

Dozens of trees are being felled adjacent to Queenstown's BP roundabout marking the beginning of years of construction work aimed at improving traffic flows on the state highways through Frankton.

Contractors this week are working to remove 33 trees, 29 shrubs and a hedge from land sandwiched between State Highway 6 and the Frankton Golf Centre.

"While we know that trees are an important part of every community, this must be balanced with the need to provide better options for people to get around this busy area," an advisory from the Kā Huanui a Tāhuna alliance says.

Room is being created to allow for underground services to be moved from under the existing road, additional bus stops, and off-road bike paths.

"Removing the trees will allow us to create a new entrance and carpark for the golf course. It will also give us the room we need to begin relocating existing and installing new underground services, so they're in the right place once we start changing the road layout."

In total, 124 trees will be removed between this side of the road and the other, to enable the extension of the Frankton bus hub.

As well as creating room for underground services to be moved from under the existing road, the area cleared this week will be utilised for temporary roads to keep traffic flowing while works are happening in the shorter term and will eventually be taken over by additional bus stops and off-road bike paths in the longer term.

Last week transport minister Simeon Brown was in Queenstown attending a sod turning ceremony to mark the beginning of the upgrade works, where he announced a $250 million budget to see them complete, up from an original $115 million assigned to the project.

The project is being delivered by the Kā Huanui a Tāhuna alliance - the same alliance driving Queenstown's pricey, problem-plagued arterial road project. However the New Zealand Transport Agency, rather than the Queenstown Lakes District Council is taking the lead on this one as it focuses on States Highway 6 and 6A rather than district roads.

Logs and mulch from the first of 124 trees to go to make way for road upgrades around the BP roundabout will be handed over to local charitable organisations.

Last week, prior to the sod turning, Mark Townsley, the construction manager for the project, said little disruption to traffic is expected during the first 18 months of works, when crews will be largely "tucked away" on the Frankton golf course, digging holes and working on upgrades to underground services, although there will be some well-publicised road closures while workers bring those services underneath sections of the roads.

Logs from the first batch of felled trees will be collected by the Queenstown Lions Club, who will process it for charity, while mulch generated will be used by the Whakatipu Reforestation Trust.

Two replacement trees will eventually be put in the ground as compensation for each tree taken off council land to make way for the works, a standard policy in the district.

Read more:

Minister commits $250m to Queenstown's 'pinch point' roads

The great Queenstown car gamble - will we give up our private vehicles?

The NZTA project page can be accessed here.

Main image: Trees come down on land adjacent to State Highway 6 beside the Frankton Golf Centre, Friday, April 12, 2024.

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