Parties split over options for one-way system

The Southern District Health Board is at loggerheads with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency over the future of the Dunedin one-way traffic system.

The twin arterial roads — Cumberland and Castle Sts — which carry traffic on State Highway 1 through the central city run either side of the construction site where the new Dunedin Hospital will eventually sit.

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."

mike.houlahan@odt.co.nz

Comments

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The SDHB can mind their own business and stick to looking after peoples health.

Why build there, given that they have had to reduce the height of the hospital, reduce bed numbers, and contend with a busy SH1.

The links to the University through the medical school made the Wakari site less attractive.

Maybe the SRHB should have taken this into consideration when choosing a site to build their new Hospital. Absolutely ridiculous to build on a main route through the center of the city. Parking will be impossible and the noise horrendous. They should have bought the old Carisbrook site when it first became available. Access off a Motorway heaps of parking and not slap bang along from the previous site. They will just be creating the same problems they have now.

The Southern District Health Board should be made to work with what they have got and not disrupt a roading system that is working perfectly as it is.

This was never the best site for the hospital. The budget is being spent in making this site work at the expense of beds.
When the last hospital was built, they had the foresight to build for future population growth. This new hospital, built when the population is double or more what it was last build, will have less beds than the current hospital.
Absolutely, scandalously, ridiculous. The incompetence cannot go on unaddressed.

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