Interchange project set to ‘make a big statement’

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The NZ Transport Agency has announced it is set to “make a big statement” with a landscaping project at the state highway interchange in Mosgiel, including nearly 50,000 plants and a community space.

NZTA coastal Otago maintenance contract manager Nick Rodger, speaking at the Mosgiel-Taieri Community Board meeting this month, said the NZTA had about $175,000 to put towards improving the landscaping on the “Mosgiel interchange” of State Highways 1 and 87.

The “significant investment” would include about 48,000 plants.

“We want to make a big statement because Mosgiel is the entrance to Dunedin, if you’re coming from the airport, so we want to hit that hard.”

Planting was scheduled for spring, he said.

Once the planting was complete,the NZTA would seek feedback from the community on potential uses of the reserve area southeast of the interchange, such as for community gardens, orchards or allotments.

Landscaping plans included a “mass plantings of natives”, such as sedges and miniature toitois.

Native plants were preferred as they required minimal maintenance, he said.

The plants would be obtained “from nurseries all over the show”.

Local nurseries would be used where possible, he said.

Existing trees, “where healthy and appropriate”, would be “tidied”.

The daffodils planted in a section of the interchange area would remain, he said.

Cr Mike Lord told Mr Rodger of contractors getting “flack” for mowing the flowers off the daffodils.

Mr Rodger said contractors “haven’t done that in a while . . . If it did happen, I’d be very annoyed”.

Downer would be managing the landscaping project, he said.

Environmental planning and design consultancy Boffa Miskell had created landscaping plans.

“We are looking to replant all the quadrants of the interchange in a manner similar to what we have done in Caversham. The end goal is to have consistent native vegetation from Mosgiel into the city.”

Some pockets of vegetation between Mosgiel and Dunedin had “died, been stolen or sprayed with herbicide by mistake”.