Controversial bridge not in plan

Pedestrians cross the University of Otago's St David St footbridge. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Pedestrians cross the University of Otago's St David St footbridge. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
One of the University of Otago's most hotly opposed proposals of recent times has not been revived in the campus master plan.

The century-old pedestrian footbridge across the Water of Leith at St David St will stay, and there are no plans to either replace it with a traffic bridge or build a traffic bridge alongside.

Staff and consultants working on the master plan noted a traffic bridge would provide "a significantly more direct and appropriate form of access to the eastern bank of the Leith and the university's historic core", the plan said.

However, "given the seeming lack of appetite for change on the issue", no replacement bridge proposal was included in the final document.

The university has sought for years to have a traffic bridge at St David St to create a new campus main entry point off Cumberland St.

It tried in 1997 and 2003 to push the million-dollar project forward, offering first to donate the Historic Places Trust-listed footbridge to the Dunedin City Council, then deciding to move it 5m upstream from its present location.

Resource consent was granted in early 2004, but in August that year, facing an appeal to the Environment Court and vehement opposition from many quarters, the university ditched the plan.

Vice-chancellor Prof Sir David Skegg said at the time there was no possibility the bridge would be built "in the foreseeable future".

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