Realignment first stage of $65m infrastructure investment

One of Dunedin's most significant investments in transport infrastructure was opened yesterday - the culmination of a multimillion-dollar collaboration between the Dunedin City Council and the New Zealand Transport Agency.

Minister of Transport, Steven Joyce, cut the ribbon to officially open a 1.2km stretch of State Highway 88, a $13.1 million roading project to realign the route to Port Chalmers behind the almost completed Forsyth Barr Stadium.

The realignment of SH88 is the first stage of a $65 million investment to improve the "safety and efficiency" of Dunedin's infrastructure, which includes upgrades to State Highway 1 beside Caversham, Mr Joyce said.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said the completion of the SH88 realignment is part of an overall project to incorporate transport needs alongside the stadium and the accompanying University of Otago plaza developments.

New Zealand Transport Agency southern region director Jim Harland, who was previously involved with the projects as DCC chief executive, said the new road was important for the economic development of the region.

SH88 was a crucial link for road freight to Port Chalmers, but the completed realignment had also been built with different modes of transport in mind, he said.

The realignment was an important addition to Dunedin's developing network of cycleways and was a key link in eventual plans to create a harbourside trail from Aramoana to Taiaroa Head, Mr Harland and Mr Cull said.

Motorists will be able to use the road from Monday, after pedestrians get the first opportunity to try out the new route on Sunday.

The Dunedin East Rotary Club has organised a day of activities, which include a 1km road sprint race, logging truck tug-of-war races, and a public walk over the new route, from 10am on Sunday.


State Highway 88 realignment
Project cost: $24.7 million (includes property and buildings)
Road construction costs: $13.1 million (includes $2.2 million for 58m-long bridge across Water of Leith).
Realigned SH88 section: 1.2km long connecting Frederick St and Parry St North.
Key link: For road freight to Port Chalmers, plus improved cycling and pedestrian access between central city and harbourside networks.

Seconded

I'd love to see the explanation for why the new alignment has more curves than the old one, at the Frederick St end which is now a mess.  If the original line had been taken, the Shaw Savill building would have remained, as per original intention.  One wonders why certain properties were purchased and others were not, as this alignment seems less than optimal.

Boo to the realignment

One of Dunedin's handsomest heritage industrial buildings, the former Shaw Savill & Albion Co. store designed by McDowell Smith, was sacrificed for this realignment. It was to remain according to the original plans, which took a slightly different line. It was in good condition and was being put to good use.  Its loss is shameful - especially considering the DCC's role in this project and its claims to value heritage.  It's not a case of mourning second-rate heritage, as this was one of the best examples of its type in the city. It's also a reminder that the DCC should get a wriggle on in sorting out its inadequate schedule of heritage buildings. This building was just one of many significant omissions (Barron's Building was another).

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