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sh88 dunedin to port chalmers walking and cycling path project banner

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

    $20-$25 million
  • Project type

    Safety improvements
  • Project status



Complete the final 5km section of the State Highway 88 shared walking and cycling path, which will provide a safe direct walking and cycling route away from the busy highway between Port Chalmers and Dunedin. 



  • Creates a safe and direct walking and cycling alternative to SH88
  • Improved safety for motorists using the highway  
  • Provides more  capacity to meet rising demand for safe cycling facilities in Dunedin.
  • Better links to the wider Dunedin cycle network.
  • Less harbour reclamation is required to build the path as  a result of Kiwirail’s agreement to allow the use of vacant rail corridor land for the path

Making the road safer

Between 2006 and 2015, twelve people were seriously injured in crashes on SH88, most were loss of control crashes where a vehicle left the road with a number ending up in the Otago Harbour.

Key features of this project

  • The installation of safety barriers along most of SH88.
  • A three metre wide asphalted pathway.
  • Lighting along the full length of the path.
  • Fencing separating the path and main trunk rail line.

What can be expected?

Construction funding  has been approved for the SH88 safety improvements, including building the last section of the SH88 shared walking and cycling path between St Leonards and Port Chalmers. The path is expected to be completed by 2022.

We are taking a stage approached 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, taking into account cyclist safety. Further safety improvements on this section of highway will coincide with the completion of the final stage of the Dunedin to Port Chalmers shared walking and cycling path.

Improvements to Dunedin bus services including all buses now being fitted with cycle racks, makes busing an even more attractive way to move about our city. Full details on Dunedin’s upgraded bus services are on the  Otago Regional Council's website(external link)

Related projects

More information about safety barrier installation and other safety improvement work being carried out on SH88 can be found here Safe Roads road barriers project on SH88.

Questions and answers

You can view the questions and answers here or download [PDF, 732 KB] them as a document.

  • Why has it taken so long to get funding approved for the shared path?

    Finding the safest route away from traffic for cyclists and pedestrians was not straightforward given the harbour edge environment and the steep grades through the Roseneath area. We worked through a range of design options to ensure we had an affordable and safe pathway that would help keep Dunedin travellers safe, and the city’s transport network humming.

  • Have there been any design changes to the path?

    A timber boardwalk structure is now proposed at Blanket Bay. The original design involved harbour reclamation to widen and extend the outer edge of the rail causeway. The existing railway line would have then been moved onto the reclaimed land, leaving enough room for the shared path.

    Subsequent detailed design and consultation identified ground settlement and constructability risks, so a boardwalk will now be built to take cyclists and pedestrians around Blanket Bay. We are planning to build a viewing platform with information boards on the history of the heritage seawall on the boardwalk.

  • What are the next steps?

    Detailed design and tender documentation for the shared path is being completed and the final consents will be lodged soon. We are continuing to work with KiwiRail to agree on realigning the rail line and use the rail corridor for the shared path.

    We are currently working with contractors to programme in the first stage of the safety work for later this year and we are working on treatment options for the Finch Street intersection. Once the options are finalised we will consult with the community and key stakeholders.

  • When is construction likely to start?

    The first stage of the safety improvements on SH88 will get underway later this year.

    Safety barriers, which will help prevent cars ending up in the harbour, will be installed at high risk sites along this route.

    The areas were picked following a safety review that found installing barriers at these sites will make the road safer for motorists, without impacting on cyclist safety.

    The review found that safety barriers could be installed at these sites before the shared path is built as the design allows the same, or in some cases, more room for cyclists travelling on SH88.

    While these barriers will not change the status quo for cyclists they could mean the difference between life and death for people driving on this road. We are finalising the details of this work and will update the community before it starts.

    The rest of the safety improvements, which include road markings, signage and the rest of the safety barriers, will be completed alongside the shared path project, which we expect to get underway next year.

  • 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 planned by the NZ Transport Agency.

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

    • Realigning section of the main trunk rail line and getting the necessary approvals to use the rail corridor for the path.
    • Reclaiming land from the harbour and leaving time for it to settle, which could take up to a year.
    • Building several retaining walls including one through the Roseneath cutting.
    • Traffic management to take account of port and cruise ship traffic.
  • 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 within their rail corridor.


Our partners on this project

Connecting Dunedin