The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has approved $19.5m for the construction of Stage 1 of the Caversham Highway Improvements project in Dunedin, which will provide motorists with a safer, more reliable route and shorter journey times.
The contract for the work has been awarded to Downer Ltd and is expected to take 20-24 months to complete. This first stage involves upgrading the existing highway to a median divided 4 lane median divided highway, between the King Edward St overpass and the Barnes Drive intersection and includes a new two lane bridge at the Glen (west of the existing bridge). The Goodall St footbridge will also be extended and raised. The existing path between Bridge St and Barnes Drive will be widened to provide a combined pedestrian/cyclist path that crosses the new bridge to link Barnes Drive with Kensington Hill.
NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) Otago-Southland Acting Regional Director Bruce Richards said Dunedin and Otago road users have been waiting some time for this project and will be delighted to see a start being made on building it. Once finished it completes the four-laning of the Dunedin southern arterial between central Dunedin from Anderson Bay Road to Mosgiel, a distance of about 15km. This route carries up to 26,000 vehicles a day.
There are several benefits for Dunedin and the wider Otago region from this project once it is completed, including the more efficient movement of freight to and from the Port of Otago. Motorists can also look forward to greater safety, reduced and more reliable travel times and less traffic congestion at peak travel times, Mr Richards said.
Work is expected to commence on preliminary on-site activities prior to Christmas. The early focus will be in the drilling of pile foundations for the Glen Bridge, and foundation works for the retaining walls. Downer expect to have up to 40 people working on the project.
Mr Richards said that the new construction should not cause major disruption for road users as it largely works around the existing highway. There will be traffic controls in place through the construction period. The existing lane configuration will generally remain as it is then expand onto sections of the new highway as they are completed. Traffic detours will be limited to unavoidable situations such as the removal and re-establishment of the Goodall St footbridge.
The permanent closure of the Glen on-ramp will happen after the Christmas holiday period, but will remain available for continued use as part of the Southern Festival of Speed circuit.
Mr Richards said further public consultation on new plans for Stage 2 of this project, from Barnes Drive to Lookout Point including bridge options at Lookout Point, still needed to be carried out. Details on this will be released early in the New Year. Funding for this section of the project has also been approved.
More detailed information is available at Caversham Highway improvements(external link)