Safety upgrade for historic Lyell Reserve intersection


Driving in and out of the Lyell Reserve, the site of an historic gold mining village near state highway 6 in the Buller Gorge is about to become both safer and easier.

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has awarded the contract for a major safety upgrade of the Lyell intersection to Coastal Construction. Work will start later this month and is expected to be completed by end of July. The cost of the project is $185,000.

NZTA Regional State Highways Manager Colin Knaggs says the NZTA is working closely with Department of Conservation on this project that will improve visibility where the access road joins state highway 6, and provide more room for highway traffic to avoid vehicles turning out of the reserve. The Lyell Reserve is a significant tourist attraction in the Buller District with the campsite run by the Department of Conservation popular with visitors.

“At the moment the access from the state highway road onto the reserve access road is tight and often means larger vehicles such as campervans cannot turn into the entrance in one manoeuvre. On occasions this has lead to the entranceway and one lane of the highway being temporarily blocked when larger vehicles have got stuck trying to get into the reserve from the highway”.

A new entrance way will be built further west away from a blind corner on state highway 6 and will improve sight distances for motorists. The state highway through this section will be widened to provide a right turn bay and a retaining wall built to accommodate the wider road way.

Colin Knaggs says in the last 10 years there have been 10 reported crashes on this section of state highway 6, although discussions with local residents and towing firms suggest there have been a large number of unreported crashes as well. This project should go along way to bringing these crash figures down.