Access road funding unlikely before next July

Ian McCabe
Ian McCabe
It was unlikely any funding from the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) for the bulk of the Eastern Access Rd would be allocated before next July, southern planning and investment manager Ian McCabe said yesterday.

Yesterday, the Otago Daily Times reported a 650m section extending from the shopping centre, which had been funded by Remarkables Park Ltd, was nearing completion and a section at the northern end was required to enable Pak'n Save and Mitre 10 Mega to operate.

Mr McCabe said the NZTA was also moving ahead with two roundabouts - one on State Highway 6 just past Glenda Dr and the other on the Eastern Access Rd. Construction was expected to begin in November.

However, no application had yet been received by NZTA from the Queenstown Lakes District Council to assist with funding the bulk of the access road, which will ultimately connect the Remarkables Park Shopping Centre to Glenda Dr and SH 6 via the back of Queenstown Airport.

Mr McCabe said the council had indicated it would try to accelerate matters if possible, but there were ''some hoops that have to be jumped through with that''.

Although the council had allocated $8.8 million for the project in its draft annual plan, it was not included in the National Land Transport Programme [NLTP] and, as yet, there was no request for it to be. Regardless, there was ''still a bit of water to go under the bridge before the council are going to be in a position to do that, anyway'', he said.

''They can't apply for construction funding before they go through [the] design [process]. They can't apply for either until the project is scheduled in the NLTP [and] that only has 18 months to go.

''I think, at best, we might get some design done ... [within] this current NLTP, but construction ... if it's going to be approved, the bulk will have to happen in the next NLTP [from 2015-18].''

Mr McCabe said for the road to go into the next long-term plan, the council would have to include the project in its own programme and submit it to the regional council's transport programme.

The regional committee would then prioritise projects and submit those to the NZTA to be considered by its board as part of the NLTP, where projects were ranked across 76 local authorities and the state highways.

While he was ''confident'' the roads enabling the operation of Pak'n Save and Mitre 10 Mega could be completed in 12 months, the progress of the remainder of the Eastern Access Rd was still undetermined.

''I can't say with any confidence at this stage whether the Eastern Access Rd will stack up or not because I haven't seen any evidence to support it,'' Mr McCabe said.