Traffic moves slowly through Frankton as congestion causes
delays on the single-lane Kawarau Bridge yesterday
afternoon. Photo by Olivia Caldwell.
The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) is considering
whether to manually control traffic on the Kawarau Bridge as
hundreds more vehicles are expected in and out of Queenstown
around New Year's Eve.
Yesterday up to 300 vehicles at a time were queued on either
side of the single-lane bridge, some stopped as far back as
the Remarkables skifield turn-off.
NZTA Central Otago area manager John Jarvis said contractors
might be placed on the bridge today to control traffic
It would be the first time such measures had been required on
the bridge for New Year's Eve traffic congestion, he said.
Yesterday the NZTA put electronic signs at either end of the
bridge, telling motorists to keep vehicles close so bridge
sensors that control stop-and-go lights would be triggered.
Some motorists had been leaving large gaps between vehicles
in front while waiting, so sensors were not being triggered.
''We are also looking at installing some more sophisticated
detection equipment at the bridge, to cater for the peak
traffic times in winter and around the new year. But that
will require some investment and further consideration,'' Mr
Congestion at the bridge caused delays of about 30 minutes
all day and into the evening.
Traffic was headed both ways, although more was
Queenstown-bound for New Year's Eve.
Sergeant Kate Pirovano called the traffic ''horrendous''.
She urged motorists to stay calm.
Sgt Pirovano said there had been no major traffic incidents
in the past couple of days, but five cars collided in a minor
''nose-to-tail'' incident in the Gibbston valley yesterday.
She said the regular occurrence of tourists crossing road
centre lines was an issue which caused more risk at this time