Blow-out in budget for road work

A million-dollar budget blow-out on the Crown Range road upgrade between Queenstown and Wanaka has been forecast by the Queenstown Lake District Council, despite claims of newly introduced processes designed to provide more robust cost estimates.

QLDC engineering services general manager Mark Kunath made the claims in a statement released yesterday.

A combination of information gaps and a vast increase in scope had resulted in one of the three upgrade elements - the Crown Range realignment and rehabilitation budget - climbing from $2.8 million to $3.8 million, Mr Kunath said.

A major component in the budget adjustment was the need to increase the work from two short sections of road to a 3.64km section, he said.

An ‘‘urgent need'' to get the work under way meant the concept stage was set aside to reduce the design time. This resulted in the extra cost, which was more than anticipated in the Council Community Plan, Mr Kunath said.

The council would be asked to approve the increase in budget at Friday's full council meeting.

‘‘We have now put measures in place to ensure that a concept phase is completed for all roading projects and that all project cost estimates are considered for future projects,'' he said.

Councillors will be asked to consider five options in connection with the work, ranging from doing nothing, to funding the additional budget.

‘‘This is a key strategic route between Wanaka and Queenstown . . . I am recommending that the work be carried out to avoid further cost, delay and safety issues,'' Mr Kunath said.

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