Hospital Drive to undergo summer reconstruction

Thursday, April 26, 2012 | 5:28 p.m. CDT; updated 9:27 p.m. CDT, Thursday, April 26, 2012
From May 7 to Sept. 20, Hospital Drive will be closed for construction in four phases. New portions of the road will be constructed (dashed lines) to make the road run straight between Tiger and College avenues.

COLUMBIA — Hospital Drive on the MU campus has a long summer of construction ahead. 

Work will commence May 7 to improve traffic flow and safety conditions on the road, according to a news release by Campus Facilities Communications.

The release included several goals for improvement including:

  •  Hospital Drive will be widened to ease traffic flow.
  • A designated lane will be provided for emergency vehicles.
  • Crosswalks will be more clearly defined to improve pedestrian flow.
  • The drive will be straightened, leading directly to College Avenue instead of curving to the north.
Safety of the road is a primary concern, Campus Facilities Communications Manager Karlan Seville said.

"Visitors and employees at MU Health Center have expressed an interest in defined crosswalks, so we're making sure that they're clearly defined," she said.
Widening the road to include a center lane will also allow emergency vehicles to get through traffic more easily.

"It'll be a better flow of traffic all around," Seville said. 

The hospital and parking structures on the road will still be accessible from intersecting roads, such as Monk Drive and College Avenue. The road will be reconstructed in phases:

  • Phase I (May 7 to June 12): Hospital Drive will be closed in front of Maryland Avenue Parking Garage from Tiger Avenue to University Hospital. Part of parking lot CG-1 will be closed as a new section of Hospital Drive is constructed between Virginia Avenue and College Avenue.
  • Phase II (June 13 to July 12): A section of the road directly in front of the hospital will be closed. A section of the road between the Patient and Visitor Parking Garage and Parking Structure No. 7 will also be closed.
  • Phase III (July 13 to Aug. 2): A section from the hospital's ambulance exit and Monk Drive will be closed. A section of the existing road between Virginia Avenue and the University Physicians Medical Building parking lot entrance will be permanently closed, as the drive will instead continue between Virginia Avenue and College Avenue in the section constructed during Phase I.
  • Phase IV (Aug. 3 to Sept. 20): The hospital's circle drive will close while chilled water lines are installed.

The road construction will correspond with the installation of the chilled water lines, which will connect with MU's chilled water loop to upgrade the hospital's air conditioning system.

The pipes will be installed at the same time as the road construction so the road does not have to be torn up twice, which would be very expensive, Seville said.

"Since we have to run the piping for that anyway, this is just an opportune time to do that," Seville said.

Seville said extra time has been built into the project to accommodate for inclement weather to ensure the construction will be finished before traffic increases with the fall semester.

"The reason that we're starting as early as we are is that we really want to push to meet the deadline," Seville said. "We need all the time we can get, and good weather, too."

Supervising editor is Celia Darrough.

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