A poor safety record and increased pressure at the intersection of State Highways 6 and 8B at Cromwell means an $8 million roundabout will replace existing traffic controls.
The Cromwell Community Board received a report regarding the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) project at a meeting last week.
The purpose of the report was to inform the board of the Crown’s intention to acquire part of the Central Otago District Council (CODC)-owned Sargood Highway Local Purpose (Amenity) Reserve for constructing the roundabout at the intersection at the northwestern edge of the Cromwell township.
The report outlined State Highway 6’s relevance as a major state highway extending from the northeastern corner of the South Island down its length and as the main road from Cromwell to Wanaka and Queenstown.
SH8B provides a link between SH6 and SH8, giving access to the scenic regions of the Mackenzie Basin and Central Otago.
Several serious injury crashes had occurred at the intersection and over time the safety record had worsened, the report said.
That was exacerbated by rising tourist numbers noted before Covid-19, which were expected to return to previous levels, combined with the rapid growth of the Central Otago region which placed increased pressure on the intersection.
The NZTA project, known as the SH6/SH8B Junction Cromwell Intersection Upgrade, involved the acquisition of 670sq m of land, made up of CODC reserve land and two parcels of private land from neighbouring owners.
NZTA’s plan is to begin construction in spring with a completion date four to six months later, in early 2022.
The project has an estimated value of $8 million.