Concerns over central city roading proposals

Discussion about how roading should be rearranged to accommodate Dunedin’s planned new hospital looks set to escalate in intensity, amid fears the project budget is inadequate.

The Dunedin City Council is due to confirm a view next week about what should happen to St Andrew St, which is part of State Highway 88 and also runs between the planned inpatient and outpatient buildings.

The street is expected to lose its status as a state highway and become pedestrian-oriented, but the council has signalled concern about ramifications for the transport network in the vicinity and how dealing with those might be remedied and paid for.

In a draft submission to Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency to be discussed by councillors next week, the council said “transport funding presently allocated to supporting the new Dunedin hospital and achieving desired liveability outcomes is not enough”.

The council signalled it would review its own funding commitment “if it can ensure better outcomes for the city”.

The overall cost of a series of projects designed by Waka Kotahi, the city council and Otago Regional Council to offset traffic disruption associated with construction of the hospital has been estimated to be as low as $103million and there has historically been some doubt about how invested Waka Kotahi is in facilitating optimal solutions.

Senior city councillor Jim O’Malley said the project budget could be $50million short of what would be needed to deliver strong results.

SH88, St Andrew St, is the main east-west link to and from the Dunedin central business district and is used by 12,000 vehicles a day.

In the draft submission, the council signalled it would support making Frederick St part of SH88.

It would not support the alternative of Hanover St.

Waka Kotahi is expected to present options for the St Andrew St area early next year.

More pedestrians and cyclists are expected to use the area when the hospital opens and cross the street between the new buildings.

The council’s draft submission drew attention to the nearby harbour arterial route, which is part of the broader series of transport projects.

The future of the harbour arterial and how it related with a relocated SH88 would need to be “actively considered”, it said.

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