PROVO -- Women in labor and doctors in a hurry to get to the hospital will want to avoid using 500 West for the next few months.
Utah Department of Transportation crews will have the road dug up and traffic pared down to one lane on either side in front of the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center while they replace 100-year-old steel water pipes.The road will also be completely replaced with concrete from 750 North to the Provo River Bridge at 1230 North.
It's anticipated the project will take 100 days to complete, starting from south to north with the east side done first.
Orange barrels and digging will block entrance to the hospital from 500 West. So officials with Utah Valley Regional Medical Center are recommending patients and visitors use alternate routes off 1230 North, 300 West and 940 North.
The emergency center entrance is on the west side of the hospital anyway, said hospital spokesman Anton Garrity, which should help alleviate problems for ambulance and emergency personnel.
But congestion and frustration is almost a certainty as the busy 500 West traffic slows to a trickle.
"We obviously don't want people stuck in traffic trying to get to the hospital, so we've tried to get the information and maps out to everybody we could think of," Garrity said.
"If people will just go around, they should be fine."
Two access driveways are open to the newly constructed parking terrace from 1230 North in addition to the entrances from 300 West and 940 North. The driveway into the Rehabilitation Center from 500 West is already closed and the new west building is not open yet.
When it does open after June 23, patrons will be encouraged to access the building from the parking areas, Garrity said, following a traffic pattern shift the hospital was hoping to instigate with the public anyway.
Freedom Boulevard or University Avenue are suggested temporarily for north-south traffic.
Work should be finished by Oct. 15.
"We are working closely with UDOT, Provo city and Western Quality Concrete to minimize the inconveniences for all hospital visitors," said Ron Jones, Intermountain Health Care operations officer.