- Associated Press - Monday, May 18, 2015

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) - Plans to build a new hospital and academic health center at Indiana University have raised concerns about traffic on Hoosier football and basketball game days.

Efforts to smooth transportation in the area have included widening a bypass and designating one lane in each direction for game traffic. It will be easier to handle game day and hospital traffic now that the bypass recently was expanded from two lanes to four lanes, according to Tom Micuda, director of Bloomington’s planning and transportation department.

“Fortunately, the bypass was widened, making us well positioned for capacity,” he said.

Ambulances with flashing lights and sirens shouldn’t have any difficulty getting through, said Tom Morrison, the university’s vice president for capital planning and facilities. But residents were more concerned that others won’t pull over regular vehicles attempting to reach the hospital, which is why city officials decided to designate one lane of traffic in each direction for game traffic and through traffic.

“People going to the hospital on their own, generally speaking, there will always be a through lane,” Morrison said.

Even so, there’s more traffic obstruction around the hospital’s current location during rush hour than there will be near the new site on game days, Morrison told The (Bloomington) Herald Times (https://bit.ly/1cL7AsS ).

“Any time you put that population base in an area, it will increase traffic, of course,” he said. “But it would be an increase on any street. Wouldn’t you want it to be on one upgraded to the level of that state highway?”

The bypass is on a state highway, so any other proposals to ease traffic congestion, such as a new traffic signal or turn lane, will have to be approved by the Indiana Department of Transportation. Many details regarding the project still need to be hashed out, but the developer will work with the department on plans to ensure game day traffic doesn’t cause problems at the hospital.

“Everything at this point is very conceptual, because we don’t have any sort of specific ideas of building square footage or parking,” Micuda said.

Construction will begin in about a year and will take up to five years to complete, according to a hospital spokeswoman.


Information from: The Herald Times, https://www.heraldtimesonline.com

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