SH 88 preliminary work set to start

Don Hill
Don Hill
Syd Brown
Syd Brown
Preliminary work to realign State Highway 88 to allow for the Awatea St stadium in Dunedin is set to start this year, after Dunedin city councillors voted to include $1.6 million for the project in the city's budget.

Preliminary designs show a roundabout in Ravensbourne Rd below Palmers Quarry, and the highway cutting through commercial yards owned by East Parry Investments and a woolstore that will be owned by the Carisbrook Stadium Trust, before cutting diagonally across the Water of Leith.

The council should find out whether a further $2.9 million will be available from the Government so the work can go ahead when it has a meeting on June 4 with the Regional Land Transport Committee.

Some information on the project was included in this week's annual plan hearings agenda, which said - because of the March 17 decision to proceed with the stadium - the budget for the harbour arterial extension needed to be increased.

Additional land would be required and the road and a bridge across the Leith would be longer, meaning $4.5 million had to be funded by the council and Land Transport New Zealand.

In its 2006 Transportation Strategy, the Dunedin City Council endorsed a proposal to bypass the Anzac Ave-Ravensbourne Rd intersection by aligning the highway with Parry St.

The proposed route changed again when it was decided the new highway would have to be located south of Parry St to make room for the proposed stadium in Awatea St.

Council roading manager Don Hill said that work needed to begin as soon as possible to be done in time for the stadium to be built.

The realignment would cut through some "high-priced" real estate.

Some of the land was part of a package that was to be bought for the stadium, and Mr Hill said there was an agreement that it was to be purchased from the Carisbrook Stadium Trust using the council's roading budget.

Asked if that was a hidden cost of the stadium, deputy mayor Syd Brown said it was not. The council would have to buy land for the realignment wherever it went, then sell off what it did not require.

The trust would sell the land to the council for the price at which it was purchased.

Mr Hill said some was private land, and notices of designation would have to be put in place to acquire it.

The land was owned by East Parry Investments, of which Earl Hagaman is listed by the Companies Office as director.

Mr Hill said he did not expect the sort of cost hikes that have dogged roading projects in Mosgiel because there were quite different issues affecting the two projects.

On Monday, the cost of upgrading roads in Mosgiel was found to have increased from $4 million to more than $10 million.

Asked whether State Highway 88 costs could do the same, Mr Hill said the Mosgiel issues were quite specific to that project.

There had been an increase in the amount of work to be done, and estimates had been based on 2003 costs. Roading construction costs had gone up 34% since 2003.

The State Highway 88 costings were more recent, he said, and more robust.

Mr Hill said the next step was for the council to adopt the trust's plan change for the area, and his department would notify its notice of requirement for the State Highway 88 project from Willis St north - a multi-million package to bring improved access to Otago Harbour and an easier route to Port Chalmers for trucks.

The rest of the project would be completed in the next 10 years.

Detailed design work was also necessary, and he expected construction at the stadium end to start in late 2009 or early 2010.

Asked what would happen to the realignment if the stadium did not go ahead, Cr Brown said construction would not start until after that decision was made.

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