Tunnel plan for one-way system

A tunnel in central Dunedin could be the best way to keep the city’s traffic flowing on the State Highway one-way system, a councillor says.

The out-of-the-box idea to bury part of State Highway1 could also enhance the environment in front of the city’s planned new hospital, because of what could be done on top of the tunnel, Dunedin city councillor Jim O’Malley said.

He envisaged the tunnel on the northbound SH1 one-way route could start from about lower Stuart St and finish at Hanover St, initially.

However, Cr O’Malley estimated the price tag could be about $400million, based on dig-and-bury projects typically costing about $1million per metre.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s board has endorsed a much more conservative programme that would retain the one-way system in an upgraded form.

Its preferred programme could cost about $103.2million.

Asking the Government to seriously consider putting part of Cumberland St, Dunedin, underground...
Asking the Government to seriously consider putting part of Cumberland St, Dunedin, underground is city councillor Jim O’Malley. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH

This prompted the DCC to support an alternative programme to include two-way traffic for Castle and Cumberland Sts and making the latter a local road, as the discussion starting point.

Cr O’Malley voted for that resolution after his amendment about the two-way model being a starting point for discussion was accepted. The alternative programme could cost about $127million, if implemented.

"I want another design to be considered and it hasn’t really been public yet," Cr O’Malley told a recent Waikouaiti Coast Community Board meeting.

The one-way system would stay where it is, but two blocks in front of the planned hospital would be buried.

"The hospital, where it’s being built and the way it faces towards George St, is an opportunity to change the whole living environment down there," Cr O’Malley said.

He envisaged the tunnel could be extended progressively.

Cr O’Malley told the Otago Daily Times options on top of the tunnel could include cycleways, walkways and some form of roading.

It would keep heavy traffic away from hospital access points.

He first raised the idea about three years ago.

"My rhetoric around this has been Dunedin hasn’t had a big spend from central government on transport for years," Cr O’Malley said.

"A metropolitan centre needs proper government spending on it."

Such a project could not be paid for from the regular transport spending allocated to Dunedin.

The Government was prepared to pay the "lion’s share" of a $15 billion light rail project in Auckland and Auckland had got ahead with dig-and-bury projects.

"Auckland has three already and Wellington is contemplating one," Cr O’Malley said.

Asked if he was open to a range of possibilities for Dunedin, Transport Minister Michael Wood said he was continuing to work with Waka Kotahi and the city council on the options for SH1.

"It’s important to point out that our Government is investing a record $1.1billion over the next three years into the region’s transport — a $400million increase compared to the previous National government."



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More madness, building a tunnel under reclaimed land, Jim stick to making chocolate fish.

Yeah what a stupid idea, next someone will suggest building a tunnel under the strait of Dover. As if eh.

You do realize that that tunnel isn't free to use and generates almost a billion euro a year, so that means they can afford a pretty good tunnel. A short tunnel in Dunedin generates no revenue. So if that tunnel leaks then where do you think the fixit money comes from? the rate payer, and they won't be able to afford it because there's art projects to fund and cycle ways to build

Good idea, but isn't the land in the area unstable already nearer the shoreline?and shouldn't a tunnel go in before the Hospitial? Wouldn't it be a hell of a lot cheaper to move the Hospitial the whole project so far is has been flawed and not a building has been built yet. cut the losses and move it before it becomes the leaning Hospitial of Dunedin. Were does Hawkins, Benson-pope and those other councillors now, who campaigned to build the Hospitial there with rate payers coin. turn the site into a Central Park

Good grief. Is it April 1st? There are so many obvious problems with this idea it is hard to know where to start. Aside from the massive unneccessary and wasteful cost, the obvious safety issues, the challenge of tunnelling below sea level -- this is a solution looking for a problem!

Tunnel, great idea. Labour stumping up the cash for a Dunedin road, rather than spouting on how much will be spent 'in the region' which includes next to nothing for Dunedin, perfect. Turning a SH into a local road, brain-dead thinking. Turning Cumberland into a local road would mean taking over the responsibility for maintenance etc from Central government. Can supporters of that idea please pack you bags, move aside and let someone/anyone with even half a brain take over.

So whos idea was it to dig a big hole next to a new hospital with a dodgy foundation? There always seems to be a certain level of incompetence at play when these big money projects get started.

Here we go again! A delusional DCC councillor! While Dunedin is ranked the 5th largest city in the world (by area); by population (133,000) it compares dismally with the 5th most populated (Mexico City) whose poulation is 21,600,000. Similarly the volume of traffic is miniscule by comparison. A Dunedin traffic jam usually means a five minute delay between 8-9am and 5-6pm. Even thinking of addressing the "traffic problem" with a $400 million tunnel is shear lunacy (unless its for cyclists). Where do we find these Councillors??????

Your reference to cyclists says all it needs to.

"Liveability objectives of the city?" Try plain English please if you want to explain what you mean.

April fools!........ oh wait...

This is an excellent idea - otherwise a north bound fly-over, over the south bound road.

As for those who say you can't dig reclaimed land or digging below sea level - it's only a Dunedin mentality that can't achieve this...

No one said we couldn't , its just the cost of doing so because of those things that make it lunacy.

It's hopeless. Last person who will be leaving this city, please turn off the lights in the airport.

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