Traffic plan discussion

A plan to keep downtown Queenstown traffic moving while ensuring the area is still pleasant for pedestrians has been presented for feedback from ratepayers, but construction could be years away.

A well-attended open day in the Queenstown Lakes District Council chambers last week launched community consultation about the ''Queenstown Inner Links'' project, which is promoted by mail drops and public notices and continues until April 22.

Stage one of the traffic congestion-easing plan, from Frankton Rd to Henry St, was estimated to cost $12.8 million in 2007-08.

The indirect route via Boundary St to Man St was estimated to cost $14.5 million and the direct route to Man St could be up to $24 million, due to land acquisitions.

Transport manager Denis Mander said there was a variety of comments during the open day, from why the project was needed and what the council was trying to achieve, to how would it affect access to property.

''We're really hoping people have a look at what it's about. It's been around for a long time and needs to go through these stages of design to work out what it is going to look like and what's the timing,'' Mr Mander said.

A report containing land valuations and varying construction costs, with recommendations on design issues will be tabled at the council meeting in June or July.

The New Zealand Transport Agency will expect a study of alternatives to Inner Links from the council, such as greater use of public transport, which might affect construction timing.

Traffic modelling is under way. Walking, cycling and parking management will be examined in the next financial year.