Dilapidated and unsightly fencing along State Highway 88 to Port Chalmers is to be replaced or repaired, hopefully in time for next summer’s cruise ship season.

Dunedin City Council staff are in discussions with the NZ Transport Agency, which is planning its own $2.2million safety improvement project on the busy highway, with the aim of working in tandem.

West Harbour Community Board chairman Steve Walker fencing had been a concern for local residents and an eyesore for cruise ship passengers for years. A solution to the issue was “long overdue”, he said.

“For years, we have had to put up with warped, broken, and rusting fencing that is also a health and safety issue.

“It’s not good for residents and it is certainly a bad look for our cruise ship passengers, as SH88 is the first and last thing they see of Dunedin,” he said.

Mr Walker welcomed the move by the DCC and NZTA to improve safety and enhance the look of the area.

DCC transport group manager Richard Saunders agreed the fencing was “well overdue” for maintenance or replacement. Staff were working to identify the areas where the fencing needed to be removed, and also what type of fencing would make the best replacement.

“There has been lot of effort put into improving the look of the area, with the removal of sycamores and the planting of native trees and bushes,” Mr Saunders said.

“We are conscious that we need to be careful of what we do put up as fencing, so that we don’t block the fabulous views that have been opened up by the sycamore removal.”

As planning was in the early stages, a budget for the work had yet to be set, he said.

With NZTA working on its own plans to improve the safety of SH88, Mr Saunders and his team were keen to work alongside the agency on the complementary projects.
“We want to make sure that the¬†two projects fit together nicely,” he said.

NZTA business unit manager Ian Duncan planned to spend $2.2million improving the safety of SH88 from Dunedin to Port Chalmers. The highway had been assessed for road safety improvements as part of the national Safe Roads project.

The Safe Roads team planned to meet the West Harbour Community board to discuss the project, Mr Duncan said.

The NZTA’s national Safe Roads and Roadsides Programme will make safety improvements to more than 90 high-risk rural state highways across the country over six years.

The improves, based on the “Safe System” approach, aim to make roads more forgiving of human error, and to reduce deaths and serious injuries on New Zealand’s roads.

Sites are identified as high-risk due to crash history, traffic volumes and road safety rating.

Mr Saunders said that once plans for improvements to the SH88 fencing had been made, they would be checked with the West Harbour Community Board before being implemented.