Queenstown residents and visitors to New Zealand’s Adventure Capital will be given greater choice on how they move about with better access to new public transport facilities and improved walking and cycling connections.
The resort town has experienced high population and tourism growth during the last two decades and this is expected to continue with 10,000 more people expected to make Queenstown their home during this next decade and international visitor numbers to New Zealand expected to top 4.5 million within the next five years.
Working with local government, a substantial programme of work is getting underway to respond to this growth, improving both accessibility for both residents and tourists and helping make Queenstown a great place to live.
State Highway 6A (SH6A), which provides the main access into and out of Queenstown, is a narrow corridor constrained by its geographical location between Lake Wakatipu on one side and Queenstown Hill on the other. Development to support the area’s rapid growth has been concentrated on State Highway 6 (SH6) in the adjoining Frankton area, where Queenstown’s high dependency on private vehicle travel has compounded traffic congestion and delays.
The NZ Upgrade Programme provides $90 million to build on the success of the Orbus service by funding a range of public transport projects on SH6 and StH6A, between Ladies Mile, Kawarau Falls Bridge and Queenstown’s town centre. Bus lanes will be built to prioritise travel by public transport on SH6 and bus priority on SH6A. These will be supported by a new bus hub on SH6.
The investment includes a new roundabout at Howards Drive (Lake Hayes Estate access), an upgrade to the SH6/SH6A intersection and an underpass at Ladies Mile to provide better cycling and walking connections.
Together, these improvements will provide a more reliable and efficient bus service into Queenstown’s town centre, and safer, upgraded walking and cycling facilities, helping reduce reliance on private vehicle use.
Work is expected to begin in late 2021.