Ratepayers shoulder alliance's $100,000 Queenstown road redo

by Kim Bowden - Apr 24, 2024

Although a ramp on a road in Queenstown's CBD was not built to specifications and is being ripped up and remade, it is ratepayers who are footing the bill for the redo.

Work is underway on Duke Street, at its intersection with Shotover Street, to flatten the grade of a slope that takes traffic onto a paved section of road to stop some vehicles hitting it.

There is a $100,000 price tag attached to the scheduled three-week project and a spokesperson for the Queenstown Lakes District Council has confirmed the council will be paying for it.

"The cost of these remedial works comes out of QLDC’s budget, which is based on the alliance’s forecast ‘cost to complete’ the project," the spokesperson says.

The alliance being referred to is Kā Huanui a Tāhuna - comprised of the council and New Zealand Transport Agency as well as businesses Downer, Fulton Hogan, WSP and Beca - which is delivering a handful of infrastructure projects in and around Queenstown, including the CBD upgrades that the original Duke Street work were part of.

The CBD upgrade project finished midway through 2023, with a public ceremony held to celebrate the end of what was a drawn out and at times frustrating and disruptive stream of construction works that impacted on traffic flows and business operations.

However, the response from the council suggests there is still a live budget for the project, and a subsequent response confirms this to be the case.

"There's some budget remaining for any required remedial work, which is referred to as 'snagging'," the spokesperson says.

Crux also enquired about the alliance structure and how indemnity insurance works for it - does each partner within the alliance carry its own insurance?

In a statement in response, the council spokesperson says, "The alliance does have insurance policies".

"The Duke Street ramp is a construction error, and there is no insurance cover for such a thing."

The total project budget for the town centre upgrades is $60 million, which includes $35 million from central government.

The alliance was only alerted to problems with its Duke Street work after receiving reports of buses travelling down the road scraping the road's surface.

Two weeks ago, a spokesperson for the council told Crux the problem was with a ramp, built a year ago and not constructed to the grade specified in its design drawings.

"Whilst this is regrettable, the alliance is committed to putting it right."

The remedial work is expected to be completed by May 6, and until then Duke Street, and Camp Street between Shotover and Man Streets, remain closed to most traffic. 

Main image: Looking down Duke Street towards where a section of problem pavers will need to be ripped up and relaid after a road was not built to specifications.



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