Truck driver joins call for road upgrade

Scott Mitchell
Scott Mitchell
The truck driver involved in the latest crash in Ballantyne Rd, Wanaka, has added his voice to the call for the gravel and Otta-sealed road to be upgraded.

Scott Mitchell was at home in Bannockburn on Thursday on a "stress day".

He recalled the moment late on Wednesday afternoon when he climbed down from his ATL Transport truck, after a car carrying two Hong Kong tourists ran into the side of it.

"I thought I had killed him.

"I was ... horrified by it.

"I could just see just the back of their headrests and I thought there was zero movement, and there was another car stopped and two women were screaming.

"Turns out they were absolutely fine; well, no obvious injuries."

Mr Mitchell said his truck and trailer were very visible.

"I create a two-storey high dust cloud ... and I always drive with my lights on ... and my truck’s bright purple."

Mr Mitchell has been travelling between Alexandra and Wanaka every work day for the past year with a truck and trailer unit loaded with general freight.He uses Ballantyne Rd to avoid the difficult exit from Riverbank Rd on to State Highway 84 near Albert Town.

Wanaka Community Board member Ed Taylor said the Queenstown Lakes District Council was preparing a case to go to the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) for half the $3 million to $5 million cost of upgrading the 4km road.

"It’s not a done deal yet that it’s going to be sealed but I believe it’s looking good."

A council spokeswoman said  its "detailed business case" for sealing the road would be completed next month. A spokeswoman for NZTA said once it was received, "it may take another month to be considered for funding".

The agency had already supported the earlier "strategic business case" prepared by the council.

"The next step is to develop a long list of options to address the problems and then analyse them against criteria to determine a preferred solution," the spokeswoman said.

"This process is part of the detailed business case, which also looks at whether the benefits of the preferred solution outweigh the costs, and how the project could be progressed and delivered."

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