Public land grab begins for Frankton highway upgrade

by Kim Bowden - Dec 20, 2022

Waka Kotahi now has dibs on the extra land it needs to upgrade its highway through Frankton, adding bus and bike lanes, and traffic lights.

This week the national transport agency has lodged Notices of Requirement with the Queenstown Lakes District Council that will reserve the land it needs to carry out its public works along the main road.

Landowners directly affected by the public land grab have been notified, and Waka Kotahi says it "will continue working with and supporting them throughout the process". 

Waka Kotahi project boss Richard Osborne says it's a significant milestone for the multi-million-dollar project revisioning the entrance to Queenstown.

Set to go - the "BP" roundabout at the intersection of State Highways 6 and 6A.

In its place will be a set of traffic lights - one of 18 new sets flagged for the stretches of road.

“The existing roundabout is a known pinch point for congestion and as growth continues in the district pressure on the state highway network will continue," Mr Osborne says. 

The existing bus hub is flagged for extension - there'll be bus shelters on both sides of the road, and for a longer stretch - plus bus stops for tourism companies.

There'll also be dedicated lanes for buses, which will be given priority green lights at intersections.

The hope: to increase capacity by providing more space for public transport, helping to encourage people on to buses, he says.

Likewise, three-metre-wide paths that separate pedestrians and cyclists from the main flow of traffic are in the plans.

Ten parking spots will be lost outside of the Frankton village shops, and Gray Street will become one-way, plus there'll be a new entry for the Frankton Golf Centre, according to plans.

Goodbye BP roundabout, hello traffic lights - preliminary designs for the new State Highway 6/6A intersection (Image supplied/Waka Kotahi).

QLDC property and infrastructure general manager Peter Hansby says the Notices of Requirement documentation is now being reviewed, and members of the public will have a chance to submit on them early next year.

The council's been working with Waka Kotahi on planning the proposed works for "many years", he says.

“We’re thrilled to be lodging the applications and taking tangible steps towards delivering these improvements."

The council is also working with the Otago Regional Council on a detailed business case for public transport in the district.

It will cover detailed analysis of how bus routes and the fleet will evolve over the next 15 years, including who owns the assets, who manages it, where the labour comes from and how it's funded.

For now, the regional council is charged with delivering the district's public transport, but this division of labour has been a source of tension between the two councils.

In August, then QLDC mayor Jim Boult said the ORC was dragging its feet in delivering a reliable, usable, more environmentally-friendly public transport system.

Main image (Waka Kotahi supplied): An artist's impression of the expanded bus hub and new bus lanes on State Highway 6A at Frankton.

Read more: The great Queenstown road gamble - will we give up our private vehicles?

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