The construction of a new emergency room complex on the backside of Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union County is bringing to the fore a significant problem: traffic flow.
The $12 million addition will have 22 exam rooms, two trauma rooms and two triage rooms. It also will mean one of the entrances to the hospital and an expanded parking lot will be accessed from Oxford Road.
The existing emergency room, with seven exam rooms, serves about 25,000 patients a year in its cramped quarters.
We expect that number to rise significantly when the new addition is completed.
As we see it, the traffic flow behind the hospital already is a problem and it’s going to get worse.
What we don’t see so far is any pro-active plan by the city to make it better.
Coulter Drive next to the Waffle House is too narrow for existing traffic and rounding the corner onto Oxford Road is a challenge in a small sedan. For an ambulance, it will be more of a challenge.
How will large trucks make deliveries to the hospital once the construction project is completed? They can’t come up Oxford Road from Bankhead because the bridge is rated for only 6,000 pounds. And even an experienced driver would find a major challenge in making the 90-degree right turn from Renasant Drive onto Oxford Road. The city’s nice ornamental street sign at the corner wouldn’t survive a month.
A plan to deal with the inadequacies of Coulter Drive and Oxford Road needs to be developed now.