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The Southern District Health Board is at loggerheads with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency over the future of the Dunedin one-way traffic system.
In a business case released last year, Waka Kotahi backed the first of two proposed options for that section of highway — retention of the current one-way system.
However, the SDHB yesterday strongly backed the alternative, P2v3 — reduction of SH1 to a single, two-way arterial road — and also called for a speed reduction in Cumberland St. Transport Minister Michael Wood is scheduled to visit Dunedin this month to review the business case, but the SDHB has got in early to make its case.
"We have written to Minister Wood ... to clarify that our position is first and foremost the speed of traffic travelling along Cumberland St past the hospital must be reduced, preferably to 30kmh, and that our strong preference is the adoption of the option P2v3 as it optimises the utility of the hospital, enhances active transport options, and connects the hospital to the city," SDHB chief executive Chris Fleming said in a report to be considered by the board next week.
The board has previously hinted its preference for a speed reduction in the area around the hospital, both to protect pedestrians and to enable emergency services vehicles easy access to the new hospital.
"Programme 1 potentially significantly impacts the new Dunedin hospital and the health and wellbeing of the people of Dunedin and the wider Southern district," Mr Fleming said of the Waka Kotahi plan.
The University of Otago was also understood to share the SDHB’s view, he said.
"It is the right thing to align both health and education activities and link clearly with the city.
"Had the location of the hospital been purely based on healthcare needs the hospital would not be in the centre of town, but the hospital is, however, being developed in this location because of the integral linkages between health and education and the importance to the economy of Dunedin and the wider Otago region."
A proposed arterial route through the industrial area for oversized loads was unlikely to be used as SH1 would be perceived as being quicker.
However, the height of the bridges linking the two hospital buildings meant large vehicles could not use St Andrew St to access either Cumberland or Castle Sts, Mr Fleming said.
He also cited an independent health analysis which scored the SDHB’s preferred option highly in a health impact analysis compared to the two-road alternative.
The Ministry of Health, which is building the new hospital on behalf of the SDHB, said it could work with either option.
"The traffic modelling and analysis that has been undertaken by the new Dunedin Hospital’s project team’s technical advisers indicates that retention of the one-way system for SH1 produces the best outcomes in terms of safety and efficient transport movement," a spokeswoman said.
"However, the decision on the preferred traffic network will be a decision for NZTA, DCC and others.
"The project team considers that, with effective traffic calming and design, either option can be made to work satisfactorily."