Link bridge plan shelved

Paul Hudson
Paul Hudson
Nine options for a bridge to connect the Otago harbourside to central Dunedin - including a new proposal that would take pedestrians from the Queens Gardens to the harbourside - received almost no support from city councillors yesterday.

Instead, councillors moved to let a report on the matter lie on the table, a decision that may mean a long wait before the long-standing issue is resolved.

For some years, the railway lines that cross Rattray St beside the Chinese Garden have been viewed as a barrier to redevelopment of the harbourside, as they cut pedestrian access from the southern end of the city.

In February, the council announced a proposal for a pedestrian and cycle bridge from beside the Chinese Garden to Thomas Burns St, described as "the missing link" for the harbourside.

Plans for two options were unveiled, a functional option, similar to the railway station bridge, at about $1.5 million, or a "landmark" structure, that would cost between $2.6 million and $3.5 million.

A new pedestrian link over the Jetty St overbridge was also raised, but was scrapped during annual plan hearings in May, following questions about the safety of a new footpath.

At that time, staff were directed to "identify and evaluate all possible options for providing connectivity across the railway corridor and Thomas Burns St".

That report was presented to the planning and environment committee yesterday.

Apart from the Queens Gardens bridge, crossing Cumberland St to Thomas Burns St, which staff ranked the highest in terms of safety and other benefits, the report included the landmark bridge option, enhancements to the Jetty St bridge, a Rattray St underpass, a pedestrian cycle bridge north of the Otago Settlers Museum and an at-grade crossing of the railway line.

Transportation planning manager Sarah Connolly said the idea of the report, which did not include costings, was to look at all possible options for councillors to consider, including some that were "out there" in terms of suitability.

At the meeting, Cr Paul Hudson said the crossing was in the "nice to do" area, rather than being essential.

He said he would have to be convinced the idea was necessary before he could support funding.

Cr Syd Brown moved the report lie on the table, with no further work undertaken on the matter until the "first cut" of the budget for the next financial year was completed.

He said the future of the harbourside was still the subject of deliberations, and the outcome of those would affect decisions on what was needed.

Cr Lee Vandervis seconded the motion, and it was carried.



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