Queenstown vistors growth continues
It was only a matter of time – central Queenstown has its first set of traffic lights.
Central Queenstown’s increasing traffic congestion has prompted NZ Transport Agency to install the town’s first set of traffic lights.
The move comes as the Queenstown struggles with a 15% influx of visitors in 2015, evidenced by high hotel occupancy (92.6%) and room rates (average $209).
Airport statistics show that in the six months ending December 2015 total passenger numbers grew 15% to 830,000, with international passengers up 20% to 265,000 and domestic passengers up 13% to 565,000 on the previous corresponding period.
This is reflected in the number of vehicles in the Central Otago area.
The traffic signals at the intersection of Ballarat and Stanley Sts are the first of two sets, the other at the intersection of Shotover and Stanley Sts.
They replace roundabouts, which have proved inefficient and have been blamed for a couple of accidents involving pedestrians.
The projects are a joint initiative by NZTA and Queenstown Lakes District Council.
The traffic signal timings will adjust automatically with traffic volumes, and they can also be remotely managed to cope with changing traffic patterns in and around Queenstown on a daily and seasonal basis.
This should prevent some traffic queues which stretch back along the main road to the airport.
A Downer crew installed the lights.
The second set of lights should be completed around mid-June before the Queenstown Winter Festival starts on June 24.
There are already traffic lights at intersections near the airport.