Upper Clutha commuters frustrated as lights and communication fail

by Lauren Pattemore - Jan 17, 2024

UPDATE WEDNESDAY 11AM: Light phasing has now been adjusted in an attempt to better manage peak afternoon traffic flows in Hāwea, plus someone will be onsite keeping a watch on the situation to step in with manual stop/go controls if required. 

Residents of Upper Clutha were feeling the frustration of backed up and blocked traffic with traffic lights set up on Hāwea Dam and a sudden closure on Aubrey Road yesterday. 

Councillor Cody Tucker has reached out to the project manager regarding the light phasing of the Hāwea lights, which social media reports say backed up cars and stopped the flow of traffic at the Hāwea turnoff. 

Motorists venting online reported people ignoring the traffic signals, while others mentioned a risk of accidents as the traffic backed up past a blind rise in the road.

Councillor Tucker is hoping to work through a resolution today and, as a first step, says the timing of the lights could be tweaked to prioritise commuter traffic in the morning and evening.

"The main message after yesterday is just to try and use the Camp Hill Road route on your way home to spread the load if possible."

He says drivers should give themselves a bit more time for their commute as there are a few roundabouts back in construction in Upper Clutha after the summer break. 

"It will be short term pain for long term gain."

Meanwhile a resident of Rata Street in Wānaka has also expressed their annoyance to Crux after their road was blocked off without any notice or detours in place from yesterday morning (Tuesday, January 16).

"This has been ongoing roadworks that has been happening on Rata Street and Aubrey Road for 18 months.

"I just felt the council could have told people that there was another round that was going to happen."

The resident says that the Queenstown Lakes District Council put up a Facebook post about the intersection closure yesterday afternoon after the road had already been closed.

The council Facebook post says there will be a detour in place using Kirimoko Crescent, Makomako Road, Rata Street, Hunter Crescent and Bay View Drive. 

This work is expected to finish on Monday, March 4.

Main image (Facebook/Wānaka Community Discussion Forum/Julius Wolfin-Brash): Traffic build up in Hāwea on Tuesday, January 16, 2024.

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