Gridlock in Queenstown is not unusual except when it is caused by a church.

There was no parting of the seas when a church being transported from Lumsden to Arrowtown was forced to pull over for four hours due to traffic congestion on the Devil’s Staircase.

The former Lumsden Presbyterian Church did eventually reach its new Arrowtown site but it took longer than planned.

During the past two weeks, King House Removals staff, of Invercargill, have been preparing the church to be moved to the corner of McDonnell Rd and State Highway 6, near Arrowtown.

Mission accomplished. . . King House Removals labourer Jake Willis is part of the team which has loaded the former Lumsden Presbyterian Church building onto a trailer ready for shifting to its new site in Arrowtown. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLTESTON

On Monday, the roof of the former church was trucked to its new home and yesterday the entire building left the town.

King House Removals co-owner Warren Willis said yesterday trucking the roof through to Arrowtown had gone without incident on Monday.

Yesterday, things were going well until it made it to the Devils Staircase on the shore of Lake Wakatipu.

It left Lumsden about 10am and was making good time.

There it met the traditional Queenstown greeting — a gridlock of traffic. The truck with the church on board made it as far as the Drift Bay picnic area, where it parked up and let the long traffic queues clear.

The fomer Lumsden Church is parked up at Drift Bay after being driven though the Devil’s Staicase on its way tp Arrowtown on Tuesday. PHOTO: DAVE GOOSSELINK

It was scheduled to resume at 7pm yesterday, heading to its final destination near Arrowtown.

The building would now be positioned on its site and foundations laid under it. It would then be lowered on to the foundations and the roof reattached, which should take about two weeks, Mr Willis said.

The process of moving the house was being filmed for the television programme Moving Houses.

Church members’ decision to sell the 1891 building and cut down 14 Lawson cypresses planted about the same time to make way for its removal was not a popular one with some Lumsden residents. It led to protests against the destruction of the trees but it went ahead.

The congregation plans to replace the building with a modern facility and it is hoped building will start some time in the coming year.