Two road sections could be widened

The Dunedin City Council will consider pressing ahead with the next two sections of Otago Peninsula road widening and sea-wall improvements simultaneously.

Councillors at yesterday's 2014-15 annual plan deliberations voted to ask staff to investigate ways of accelerating work on the project and report on options next year.

That could allow the next two sections, Broad Bay to Portobello and Vauxhall to Glenfalloch, to be built at the same time.

That was on the proviso any change remained within the council's financial strategy and had little or no additional impact on rates.

Cr Richard Thomson, who suggested the move, said it reflected the fact submitters were ''evenly split'' on the merits of the two sections, both of which were worthy candidates to be completed next.

The move would allow questions about the work to be clarified, including any implications for New Zealand Transport Agency funding, while ensuring any revised work plan could be included in next year's long-term plan hearing.

''I think we should give ourselves the opportunity to try to get a win-win here.''

Yesterday's move won the backing of councillors including Neville Peat, an Otago Peninsula resident, who said he had planned to go in ''all guns blazing'' to get priority for the section from Broad Bay to Portobello.

Portobello Rd remained the city's premier tourism route, connecting to ecotourism ventures worth $100 million a year to the city's economy, he said.

However, the safety of road users on the narrow, winding road remained the ''paramount concern'' highlighted by updated crash statistics he presented to the meeting to underscore his point.

He would be happy to see both sections proceed at the same time, which would address concerns and could also help achieve savings.

Yesterday's vote came after the council suggested reviewing the order of remaining widening and cycle/walkway work on the harbour-side road around the Otago Peninsula, prompting 600 submissions and a fierce debate.

Cr Thomson's potential solution was first raised during annual plan deliberations earlier this week. Staff were expected to report on options in time for next year's long-term plan hearing.


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