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Project introduction

We’re making SH88 Dunedin to Port Chalmers safer for everyone, by providing an attractive and secure off highway route for pedestrians and cyclists and increasing safety for other road users.

  • Estimated project cost

    $37–43 million
  • Project type

    Safety improvements
  • Project status

    Construction

Making SH88 safer

Road safety is a high priority for the government and a major focus for Waka Kotahi. Everyone should be able to get to where they’re going safely - whether they’re driving, walking, cycling, or riding a motor bike.

This project is part of our investment in safer infrastructure to support New Zealand’s Road to Zero strategy, that sets us on a path to achieve Vision Zero, an Aotearoa New Zealand where no one is killed or seriously injured on our roads. Steady progress towards this target would mean approximately 750 fewer people are killed and 5,600 less seriously injured on our roads over the next 10 years.

Road to Zero – NZ’s road safety strategy

What can be expected

Construction funding was approved in 2019 for the SH88 safety improvements, including building the last section of the SH88 shared walking and cycling path between St Leonards and Port Chalmers. Work started in early 2020 but has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This section of shared path is expected to open in early 2023.

A staged approached is being taken to on-highway safety improvement work. Side safety barrier are being installed in high-risk locations on the sections of SH88 between Maia and Port Chalmers with the safety of cyclists an important consideration. Further highway safety improvements will coincide with the completion of the final stage of the Dunedin to Port Chalmers shared path.

Key features of this project

  • A three-metre wide and well-lit shared walking path.
  • Fencing separating the path and main trunk rail line.
  • Safer links from the path to communities along this route.
  • The installation of side safety barriers at high-risk locations on the sections of SH88 between Maia and Port Chalmers.

Benefits

  • A safe and direct walking and cycling alternative to SH88.
  • Improved safety for drivers using the highway.  
  • Greater capacity to meet rising demand for safe cycling facilities in Dunedin.
  • Better connections to the wider Dunedin cycle network.
  • Make walking and cycling between Port Chalmers and Dunedin a safer and more attractive commuting option.

SH88 safety improvements project map

Questions and answers

Last updated: June 2022

  • What significant design differences are there to the final section of the shared path from St Leonards to Port Chalmers compared to what was initially proposed?

    The biggest change is a timber boardwalk along the shores of Blanket Bay. The original design involved harbour reclamation work to widen and extend the outer edge of the rail causeway out in the bay. This would have seen the existing railway line moved onto reclaimed land, to provide enough room for the shared path.

    More in-depth investigation work highlighted significant risks around the settlement of the reclaimed land, plus considerable construction challenges. A boardwalk taking shared path users around the edge of Blanket Bay offered a good alternative This section of path will feature a viewing platform with information panels about the history of the heritage seawall alongside the boardwalk.

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  • What are some of the construction challenges the project team faces?

    The last leg of the shared path is one of the most geographically demanding cycle safety projects being built by the Transport Agency.

    The project team will have to contend with the lack of natural space for the path in a demanding coastal marine environment. Creating the space required involves the following:

    • Reclaiming areas of the Otago harbour
    • Realigning sections of the main trunk rail line between St Leonards and Curles Point and around both Sawyers and Mussel Bay.
    • Building several retaining walls including one through the Roseneath cutting.
    • Building a 600 metre plus board walk to carry the cycle path around the edge of Blanket Bay.
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  • What safety work is planned as part of this project?

    Safety barriers, to help prevent cars crashing and ending up in the harbour, will be installed at high risk rural sections of SH88 between Dunedin and Port Chalmers.

    Other safety improvements associated with this project including improved road markings and signage will be carried out in parallel with work on sections of final leg of the shared path between St Leonards and Port Chalmers.

    We are also looking at possible safety improvements to the SH88/Finch Street intersection. We will share these with the community and key stakeholders once we’ve they are finalised.

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  • When will the safety barriers be installed?

    A safety review of all the barriers identified those which could be installed ahead of constructing the path, without compromising the safety of cyclists.

    The design of these select sites allows for the same, or in some cases, more room for cyclists who choose to ride on the highway instead using the shared path.

    While these barriers won’t change the safety status quo for those cycling on SH88 they could mean the difference between life and death for motorists if they leave the road and crash into the harbour.

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  • What is KiwiRail’s role in this project?

    KiwiRail’s continued support is central to the success of this project. The completion of the shared path relies on their continued willingness to accommodate sections of the path located within their rail corridor. The project team meets regularly with KiwiRail as over 2km of the path is within the rail corridor.

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Our partners on this project

Connecting Dunedin