No stopping to be enforced near Cromwell water park

by Kim Bowden - Jul 02, 2024

The authority in charge of the country's highways will be enforcing a no-stopping zone around a Cromwell water park to make a stretch of open road safer over summer.

After consulting on the idea, the New Zealand Transport Agency will now prevent people from parking on either side of 1.3 kilometres of State Highway Six outside the Kiwi Water Park.

The zones stretches from south of the water park, continues past the Lowburn camping site and boat ramp, and finishes at the bridge over the Lowburn Inlet.

NZTA's new no-stopping zone along State Highway Six at Lowburn (Supplied/NZTA).

In a statement, NZTA says signs are now being erected notifying motorists of the change.

However, people will not be pinged straight away for breaking the new rule, and NZTA says "an education approach" will be taken over the next month or so.

Visitors to the popular water park attraction, which has approval to float inflatable climbing towers, slides and other play equipment on Lake Dunstan from December to March, have received flak for parking outside of designated areas, with increased vehicle movements in the area being cause for concern for some locals.

NZTA safety engineers team lead Roy Johnston says the water park and others accessing Lake Dunstan have dedicated, safe parking on LINZ land nearby, so there is no need for on-highway parking.

"This change is essential given State Highway Six has a 100 kilometre per hour upper speed limit, so anyone pulling out onto the highway is risking a serious injury crash or worse," he says.

The no-stopping proposal was consulted on in March.

A total of 20 submissions were received - eight in support, five opposed, and seven either neutral or off topic. 

NZTA says some submissions highlighted more general concerns about managing vehicle speeds on the road and safety at the intersection of State Highway Six and Lowburn Valley Road.

"Speed management will be considered once the government has updated the 'Setting of Speed Limits' rule," it says in its statement.

"The intersection concerns have been added to NZTA’s issues database to inform development of future work programmes."

The Kiwi Water Park at Lowburn, near Cromwell (Supplied).

In 2022, water park operator Emily Rutherford went public with her concerns "bureaucratic red tape" was threatening her business, as NZTA, LINZ and the Central Otago District Council grappled with roading safety concerns in the area.

In response, NZTA installed a right-hand turning lane on the highway at the entrance to LINZ land designated as parking for freedom campers, water park users, boaties and other recreational users of the lake.

It came with an estimated cost to tax payers of up to $375,000.

NZTA says it wants to give people plenty of notice ahead of summer about its latest roading change, which it hopes will further safeguard road users and visitors to Lake Dunstan and the water park.

Main image (File image): Motorists using the Kiwi Water Park leave vehicles parked on the berm beside State Highway Six at Lowburn, January 2023.




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