Looking for new way to slow traffic

The Queenstown Lakes District Council plans to find a new, cheaper way to slow down traffic passing through Cardrona between Wanaka and Queenstown.

About a month ago, council contractors installed concrete and river-stone traffic ''thresholds'' in the road surface at each end of the town.

The contractors removed the speed humps last week because of concerns they were a danger to cyclists and motorcyclists.

The cost of installing and removing the $50,000 devices was $55,000. That was shared between the council and the New Zealand Transport Agency.

Council general manager infrastructure and assets Erik Barnes told the Otago Daily Times on Friday the humps were designed by a consultant but signed off by the council ''and we accept full accountability''.

An internal review would be conducted.

''I need to understand very clearly what the decision-making process involved and how can we improve so this doesn't happen again,'' Mr Barnes said.

''The mayor [Vanessa Van Uden] and the chief executive [Adam Feeley] are very clear this is unacceptable and I agree we need to do better.''

Mr Barnes said the design of the speed humps was influenced by the need to both slow people down and meet ''some pretty strict guidelines'' protecting Cardrona's heritage value.

The thresholds complied with agency guidelines, but an audit and feedback from the public revealed safety concerns.

''In assessing the use of them in situ, we felt there was enough of a concern for safety for cyclists and motorcyclists that we did not believe they were appropriate.''

The council considered adding more signs to warn motorists of the thresholds but Mr Barnes said he believed there was enough of a concern that ''we needed to pull them out''.

The council is assessing what other traffic-calming measures can be employed to help safeguard pedestrians crossing the road in the 50kmh zone outside the Cardrona Hotel.

-mark.price@odt.co.nz

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